Sir Alfred Brian Pippard


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(1920–2008) British physicist

Pippard, the son of a professor of engineering, was born at Leeds and educated at Cambridge University. After wartime research on the development of radar, he obtained his PhD from Cambridge in 1947. He remained at the university for the rest of his career, serving as Plummer Professor of Physics from 1960 until 1971 and Cavendish Professor until 1982.

After World War II Pippard began to use microwaves to study superconductors, in particular the conduction in a thin layer at the surface of the material. He introduced the idea of ‘coherence’ in superconductors – the way in which electrons ‘act together’ so that an effect at one point influences electrons a certain distance away. Pippard's ideas were explained by the BCS theory of John Bardeen and his colleagues. Pippard has also worked on microwave absorption at metal surfaces as a method of investigating the conduction electrons. His book Dynamics of Conduction Electrons (1964) deals with metallic conductivity. His most recent work was Magnetoresistance in Metals (1989).

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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