Laura Tolley

UH Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Superconductivity Breakthrough at Nov. 19 Symposium

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November 12, 2012-Houston-

It was a groundbreaking discovery 25 years ago that remains relevant today – University of Houston physics professor Paul Chu achieved superconductivity at a temperature that would usher in a new era in materials science.

To celebrate this historic achievement, the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH) is hosting a special 25th Anniversary Symposium on Creativity and Innovation on Monday (Nov.  19) at the Hilton University of Houston. The symposium will provide a unique opportunity for Nobel laureates and world-renowned scientists to share their personal insights on discoveries in materials and their impact on science and technology.

The event is free and open to the public. It runs from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and then from 1:30 p.m.- 6:10 p.m. in the Hilton’s Shamrock Ballroom. For a full agenda and to RSVP for the event, please visit:

Chu, founding director and now chief scientist of TcSUH, said the symposium will feature discussions by some of the top minds in the world of materials, with an emphasis on superconductivity research. Experts will also discuss how the discoveries have helped shape public policy.

“Superconductivity is one of the few subjects in science that has intellectual challenges as well as the technological promises,” Chu said. “Therefore, it has attracted scientists from different fields, such as physics, chemistry, material science and engineering. The progress in the last 25 years has brought some of its applications a giant step closer to reality.”

Allan Jacobson, TcSUH director and the Robert A. Welch Chair of Science and Professor of Chemistry at UH, said he is pleased with the response of U.S. and international scientists who will come together for the symposium, including several former TcSUH students.

“An outstanding group of distinguished scientists will help us celebrate our anniversary by sharing their knowledge with the public,” Jacobson said.

Featured presenters for the morning session, “Creativity & Innovation in Frontiers of Materials Science and Technology” include:

_K. Alex Mueller, (video lecture) IBM Zürich Research Laboratory, Ruschlikon and Department of Physics, University of Zürich; 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics for superconductivity in ceramic materials.

_Sir Anthony J. Leggett, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign; 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for the theory of superconductors and superfluids.

_David M. Lee, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Physics & Astronomy Department at Texas A&M University; 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of superfluidity in helium3.

_ Leon N. Cooper, (live, by video), Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science and Director of the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems at Brown University; 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics for the BCS theory of superconductivity.

_Robert Curl, University Professor Emeritus, PitzerSchlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus and Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, Rice University;1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of fullerenes.

_Samuel C. C. Ting, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the subatomic J/ψ particle.

Chu gained global recognition in 1987 when he and his colleagues achieved superconductivity above 77 degrees Kelvin, the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, with the discovery of the high temperature superconductor YBCO.

A superconductor is a unique material that loses its resistance to electricity when you cool it below a certain temperature. Superconducting materials are now being used to make devices for energy generation, transmission and storage, as well as ultra-fast and ultra-sensitive signal detection and magnets for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

About the University of Houston

               The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.