Physics in Perspective

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 30–47 | Cite as

Richard Feynman and the History of Superconductivity

  • David Goodstein
  • Judith Goodstein


This paper deals with two topics. One is the history of superconductivity, and the other is what Richard Feynman had to do with it. The history of superconductivity can be traced back to Michael Faraday and the first liquefaction of a gas in 1823. It is a heroic tale of triumph over cold and resistance, and once the phenomenon was actually discovered in 1911, it would take almost 50 years more before a satisfactory explanation emerged. Although Richard Feynman only authored one published paper on the subject, he worked prodigiously on the problem through much of the 1950s, and his competitors, particularly Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer, fully expected that he would be the one to crack the problem. It did not work out that way.

Key words. History of superconductivity, liquefaction of gases, Kamerlingh Onnes, Feynman. 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Goodstein
    • 1
  • Judith Goodstein
    • 2
  1. 1.MS 104-3, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA e-mail: dg@caltech.eduUS
  2. 2.015A-74, California Institute of Technolog, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA e-mail: jrg@its.caltech.eduUS

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