Johannes Georg Bednorz

(b. 1950)

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(1950–) German physicist

Bednorz was educated at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, where he gained his PhD in 1982. He immediately joined the staff of the IBM Research Center in Zurich.

Here he was invited by his senior colleague, Alex Muller, to collaborate in a search for superconductors with higher critical temperatures. Little progress had been made in this area for a decade and, as a young unknown scientist, Bednorz's decision to work in such an unpromising field appeared to many to be somewhat rash. Success, however, came relatively quickly and in 1986 Bednorz and Muller found a mixed lanthanum, barium, and copper oxide that had a critical temperature of 35 K (–238°C), which was significantly higher than that of any other superconductor known at the time. Their work was quickly recognized and in 1987 Muller and Bednorz were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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