Georg Bednorz

Last updated
Johannes Georg Bednorz
Georg Bednorz 2013.jpg
Bednorz in 2013
Born (1950-05-16) 16 May 1950 (age 68)
Nationality German
Known for High-temperature superconductivity
Awards Marcel Benoist Prize (1986)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1987)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Doctoral advisor Heini Gränicher,
K. Alex Müller

Johannes Georg Bednorz (born May 16, 1950) is a German physicist who, together with K. Alex Müller, discovered high-temperature superconductivity in ceramics, for which they shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.

K. Alex Müller Swiss physicist

Karl Alexander Müller is a Swiss physicist and Nobel laureate. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1987 with Georg Bednorz for their work in superconductivity in ceramic materials.


Life and work

Bednorz was born in Neuenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany to elementary-school teacher Anton and piano teacher Elisabeth Bednorz, as the youngest of four children. His parents were both from Silesia in Central Europe, but were forced to move westwards in turbulences of World War II. [1]

Neuenkirchen, Westphalia Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Neuenkirchen is a municipality in the district of Steinfurt, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neuenkirchen is the biggest village in the district of Steinfurt. It is situated approximately 7 km south-west of Rheine and 35 km north-west of Münster.

North Rhine-Westphalia State in Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia is a state of Germany.

Silesia Historical region

Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is about 40,000 km2 (15,444 sq mi), and its population about 8,000,000. Silesia is located along the Oder River. It consists of Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia.

As a child, his parents tried to get him interested in classical music, but he was more practically inclined preferring to work on motorcycles and cars. (Although as a teenager he did eventually learn to play the violin and trumpet.) In high school he developed an interest in the natural sciences, focusing on chemistry, which he could learn in a hands-on manner through experiments. [1]

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.

In 1968, Bednorz enrolled at the University of Münster to study chemistry. However, he soon felt lost in the large body of students and opt to switch to the much less popular subject of crystallography, a subfield of mineralogy at the interface of chemistry and physics. In 1972, his teachers Wolfgang Hoffmann and Horst Böhm arranged for him to spend the summer at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory as a visiting student. The experience here would shape his further career, not only did he meet his later collaborator K. Alex Müller, the head of the physics department, but he also experienced the atmosphere of creativity and freedom cultivated at the IBM lab which he credits as a strong influence on his way of conducting science. [1] [2]

University of Münster German public university

The University of Münster is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

Crystallography The scientific study of crystal structure

Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids. The word "crystallography" derives from the Greek words crystallon "cold drop, frozen drop", with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and graphein "to write". In July 2012, the United Nations recognised the importance of the science of crystallography by proclaiming that 2014 would be the International Year of Crystallography. X-ray crystallography is used to determine the structure of large biomolecules such as proteins. Before the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography, the study of crystals was based on physical measurements of their geometry. This involved measuring the angles of crystal faces relative to each other and to theoretical reference axes, and establishing the symmetry of the crystal in question. This physical measurement is carried out using a goniometer. The position in 3D space of each crystal face is plotted on a stereographic net such as a Wulff net or Lambert net. The pole to each face is plotted on the net. Each point is labelled with its Miller index. The final plot allows the symmetry of the crystal to be established.

Mineralogy Scientific study of minerals and mineralised artifacts

Mineralogy is a subject of geology specializing in the scientific study of the chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals and mineralized artifacts. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.

After another visit in 1973, he came to Zurich in 1974 for six months to do the experimental part of his diploma work. Here he grew crystals of SrTiO3, a ceramic material belonging to the family of perovskites. Müller, himself interested in perovskites, urged him to continue his research, and after obtaining his master's degree from Münster in 1977 Bednorz started a PhD at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) under supervision of Heini Gränicher and Alex Müller. In 1978, his future wife, Mechthild Wennemer, whom he had met in Münster, followed him to Zürich to start her own PhD. [1] [2]

ETH Zurich Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich

ETH Zurich is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Like its sister institution EPFL, it is an integral part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain that is directly subordinate to Switzerland's Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. The school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, serve as a national center of excellence in science and technology and provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry.

In 1982, after obtaining his PhD, he joined the IBM lab. There, he joined Müller's ongoing research on superconductivity. [3] In 1983, Bednorz and Müller began a systematic study of the electrical properties of ceramics formed from transition metal oxides, and in 1986 they succeeded in inducing superconductivity in a lanthanum barium copper oxide (LaBaCuO, also known as LBCO). The oxide's critical temperature (Tc) was 35 K, a full 12 K higher than the previous record. This discovery stimulated a great deal of additional research in high-temperature superconductivity on cuprate materials with structures similar to LBCO, soon leading to the discovery of compounds such as BSCCO (Tc 107K) and YBCO (Tc 92K).

Superconductivity physical phenomenon

Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic flux fields occurring in certain materials, called superconductors, when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. It was discovered by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911, in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon. It is characterized by the Meissner effect, the complete ejection of magnetic field lines from the interior of the superconductor during its transitions into the superconducting state. The occurrence of the Meissner effect indicates that superconductivity cannot be understood simply as the idealization of perfect conductivity in classical physics.

Lanthanum barium copper oxide High temperature superconductor

Lanthanum barium copper oxide, or LBCO, was discovered in 1986 and was the first high temperature superconductor. Johannes Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in physics for its discovery.

High-temperature superconductivity Superconductive behavior at temperatures much higher than absolute zero

High-temperature superconductors are materials that behave as superconductors at unusually high temperatures. The first high-Tc superconductor was discovered in 1986 by IBM researchers Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller, who were awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics "for their important break-through in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials".

In 1987, Bednorz and Müller were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for their important break-through in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials". [4] In the same year Bednorz was appointed an IBM Fellow.

Awards and honors

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Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Dutch physicist, Nobel prize winner

Professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes FRSFor HFRSE FCS was a Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate. He exploited the Hampson–Linde cycle to investigate how materials behave when cooled to nearly absolute zero and later to liquefy helium for the first time, in 1908. He was also the discoverer of superconductivity in 1911.

Yttrium barium copper oxide chemical compound

Yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) is a family of crystalline chemical compounds, famous for displaying high-temperature superconductivity. It includes the first material ever discovered to become superconducting above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77 K) at about 90 K. Many YBCO compounds have the general formula YBa2Cu3O7−x (also known as Y123), although materials with other Y:Ba:Cu ratios exist, such as YBa2Cu4Oy (Y124) or Y2Ba4Cu7Oy (Y247).

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 J. Georg Bednorz – Biographical.
  2. 1 2 "Georg Bednorz (1950–Present)". Pioneers in Electricity and Magnetism. Magnet Lab. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008.
  3. J. G. Bednorz and K. A. Müller (1986). "Possible high Tc superconductivity in the Ba−La−Cu−O system". Z. Phys. B. 64 (1): 189–193. Bibcode:1986ZPhyB..64..189B. doi:10.1007/BF01303701.
  4. The Nobel Prize in Physics 1987.