Monthly Archives: July 2010

Superconductivity

High-Temperature Superconductivity is something I worked on at Stanford back in 1973-75. The world has changed. Now “high-temperature” means “above the boiling point of liquid Nitrogen” (77oK/-321oF). Back then it meant “above the boiling point of liquid Hydrogen” (20oK/-423oF), and it was still an unattained goal. We had to use liquid Helium. Still, some things remain the same:

  1. Dimensionality matters. Back then I was working with thin films, thin enough to act in some ways like two-dimensional objects. This is still important.
  2. The Ginzburg-Landau macroscopic theory seems to still work. The more detailed BCS Theory goes beyond G-L to a give a microscopic description of superconductivity and is very successful at liquid Helium temperatures. However, it appears to be in trouble at higher temperatures.

Perils of the Amazon

beamjockey wrote about “The Worst Excuse for a Book I’ve Ever Seen.”

He compared a modern “print-on-demand” copy of a technical book with the 1912 original. OCR is clearly not ready for prime time.

The publisher

is flooding Amazon with these low quality prints and, unfortunately, many of them have the reviews associated with the original or with beter quality imprints associated with them.

Also, Jennifer Ouellette, in The Nays Have It looked at Amazon.com customer reviews of some well known science books. If you are thinking about buying a book there, don’t just count the stars. Again, you should check the reviews.