Milestone-Proposal talk:Discovery of Superconductivity at 93 K in Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide

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Initial Review 20 May '17 -- k3hz (talk) 08:58, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

After a detailed review of the proposal, the following checks and notes were conduced:

1. The proposal is factual based on the existing (extensive) correspondence regarding the closely associated Milestone at the University of Houston. The claims of both do not conflict, and I have no objection to the wording. I would suggest removing the word "also", as it adds nothing to any sentence written in English;

2. The documentation attachments support the proposal, and no conflicts with these and basic Google searches showed no conflicting information.

Subject to comment by others, I have found no objection based on the IEEE History Committee Milestone guidelines, and recommend this milestone be elevated for review at the next History committee Milestone Review meeting.

    • Declaration. I do need to disclose that:

- I separately met with Dr Ruling Meng and Dr Chu at the University of Houston, accompanied by their legal team regarding push back by members of the public on the IEEE Milestone at their Campus in 2014. There was open litigation at that time. - I attended the UAH building with Dr Ashburn to examine the existing plaques and re-purposed laboratory. neither of these I believe has influenced my review and recommndations here.

Regards, David E Burger, Chartered Professional Engineer, Electrical and Electronics Past Chair of the IEEE History Committee 2014/2015 Mount Colah, Sydney, Australia.

Minor Edit to Citation Wording -- Jrashburn (talk) 13:22, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

Concur with the advocate that the word "also" should be removed from the citation wording. The edit has been made on the proposal page.

Update: The support letter from the IEEE Huntsville Section has been submitted and received.

Jim Ashburn, Milestone Proposer

-- JaninA (talk) 09:31, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

I agree with David that there does not seem to be a contradiction between 2014 Milestone High Temperature Superconductivity, 1987. As a researcher involved in research on microwave properties of HTS materials for 30 years I am of the opinion that the proposed milestone compliments the 2014 Milestone very well .

One small remark. When Bednorz and Muller made their discovery of superconductivity in LaBaCuO, they announced Tc as 30K. However later higher Tc were measured too, up to 40K, thanks to optimized optimized stoichiometry. Some texts and review publications quote 40K. It may be worthy to mention.

Re: -- Jrashburn (talk) 03:30, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

In December of 1986, the K2NiF4-structure phase of La-Sr-Cu-O (not Ba) was found by multiple groups to superconduct at ~40K and first reported by Bell Labs. A "123"-structure phase of La-Ba-Cu-O (analogous to YBCO) was found later in 1987 to superconduct in the 80-90 K range, but solid solubility between the La and Ba makes it more difficult to push into the higher end of that range. I can include a citation for the Bell Labs paper, but these and many similar facets of the story are well covered in some of the existing citations.

-- Juan Carlos (talk) 13:44, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Reading the proposed citation and comparing with the already dedicated (in 2014) and VERY SIMILAR Milestone at the University of Houston, I find the whole matter confusing. Text of both citations is almost the same, word by word !

Milestone citations are to be read by the public, and to educate; any person comparing the two citations would get confused too. It is the same compound being discovered, at the same time on January 1987 in two different places ? There are many cases of two different plaques for the same milestone, should we do the same here?

The same paper is mentioned as first reference for the dedicated and the proposed milestones. It seems investigators from both groups are cited as authors; and one of them is the proposer of the new milestone. Perhaps being able to read that paper will shed some light into the matter; please make a copy available to the Committee.

I also think that the inclusion of the full name of the compound in the title is too esoteric.

Re: -- Jrashburn (talk) 02:57, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

Page 808 of this reference (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/614424/?reload=true&tp=&arnumber=614424) offers one Houston perspective on how the two sites were involved in the initial work with YBCO.

-- Allisonmarsh (talk) 17:57, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

I applaud the proposers for concentrating on the achievement rather than the individuals!!

I agree with Juan Carlos that the title is a bit too esoteric for the average passerby. I would also like the citation to explain more of why this was important.

Re: -- Jrashburn (talk) 16:19, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

The wording has been a difficult area. My objective has been to avoid any ambiguities that arise (oddly) with the word “discovery.” My working interpretation of the two milestones is this:
- The Houston Milestone celebrates the physics behind the discovery of superconductivity above 77K, including the tests necessary to confirm superconductivity in the YBCO material. It essentially covers what was documented in the original, now very highly-cited paper.
- The proposed Huntsville Milestone celebrates the conception, fabrication, and initial testing of YBCO that showed reproducible evidence (but not confirmation) of superconductivity above 77K (the “a-ha” moment, if you will).
Concerning the importance of the discovery, I have struggled on where to place the emphasis. Applications have been coming slowly but steadily (see, for example, http://snf.ieeecsc.org/sites/ieeecsc.org/files/LiX_3MA02.pdf), and the purely scientific significance of what is clearly a unique phenomenon is not easily distilled to few words or layman’s terms.

-- Juan Carlos (talk) 18:00, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

“Milestones honor the achievement, rather than a place or a person”

There is another Milestone plaque at the Univ. of Houston, almost identical to this proposal. Both have the same first reference (Physical Review Letters, march 1987) with authors from both groups (Universities of Huntsville and Houston). In the paper there is absolutely no indication of places, neither division of tasks; it just describes ONE achievement. We have a significant technical achievement resulting from the work of two groups working in two different places. And it was originally published with both groups as authors.

We cannot have two Milestone for one and the same achievement. This is ONE achievement; it deserves ONE Milestone with two plaques, one at each University.

We need to merge this proposal for Huntsville into the already approved Milestone for Houston, and cast another plaque. There are Milestones with two plaques (e.g. at both ends of a submarine cable, …)


Comparison:

Existing Milestone (Univ of Houston) http://ethw.org/Milestones:High-Temperature_Superconductivity,_1987

High-Temperature Superconductivity, 1987

On this site in 1987, yttrium-barium-copper-oxide, YBa2Cu3O7, the first material to exhibit superconductivity at temperatures above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (77k), was discovered. This ushered in an era of accelerated superconductor materials science and engineering research worldwide, and led to advanced applications of superconductivity in energy, medicine, communications, and transportation.

Proposal for the University of Huntsville

Discovery of Superconductivity at 93 K in Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide

On this site, a material consisting of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen was first conceived, synthesized, tested, and -- on 29 January 1987 -- found to exhibit stable and reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. This marked the first time the phenomenon had been unambiguously achieved above 77 Kelvin, the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, thus enabling more practical and widespread use of superconductors.

Thanks for clarifying this relation, Carlos. I wonder: What is the relation between the two groups in Houston and Huntsville? Would they be amenable to having one milestone with two plaques?

Also, I am beginning to wonder about the litigation regarding the 2014 Houston milestone mentioned in the first contribution. What was this about, did it have anything to do with the Huntsville group, and throw light on the relation between the two groups?

Re: -- CSchlombs (talk) 20:04, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Replace this text with your reply

Thanks for clarifying this relation, Carlos. I wonder: What is the relation between the two groups in Houston and Huntsville? Would they be amenable to having one milestone with two plaques?

Also, I am beginning to wonder about the litigation regarding the 2014 Houston milestone mentioned in the first contribution. What was this about, did it have anything to do with the Huntsville group, and throw light on the relation between the two groups?

Re: Re: -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 20:21, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

There seems to be enough questions that this proposal needs to be discussed at our face-to-face meeting. I cannot recommend a go or no-go on this.

Re: Re: -- k3hz (talk) 23:38, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Hello Jason & Kartik, At the time of this Milestone proposal being tabled, the litigation ('between UH at Houston and a 3rd party unrelated to Huntsville') had concluded, and indeed I had requested James to wait for that litigation episode to conclude before submitting here.

I understand first hand the latent tension between the high temperature superconductivity work conducted at both UH and UAH, and without projecting, both Universities and related IEEE Sections would probably object to identical milestones being placed at both sites. This historical background where CHU had allegedly left off the names of the research team members at UH and UAH on the UH Patent has been pretty much the basis of the all the litigation episodes since, with UH surprisingly being involved in all cases.

The key fundamental differentiator is that UH Milestone is about the physics, and the UAH Milestone proposal is about the first manufacture of a high temperature superconductor. So this ties in with the location and achievement, and avoid the personalities., and ties in nicely with existing recognition plaques (by others) that exist at UAH Huntsville.

Your recommendation is to consider these issues in your face to face discussions, cognizant of the prickly background IEEE has entered into leading to this recognition process.

Regards, David Burger, Past Chair, IEEE History Committee. Sydney, Australia.

New Proposed Milestone Wording -- Jrashburn (talk) 19:15, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

In response to guidance that the milestone wording be clarified, here is a proposed wording:

On this site, a material was first conceived, produced, and found on 29 January 1987 to exhibit stable, reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. By examining related superconductors, an oxide of yttrium, barium, and copper was formulated; synthesized by solid-state reaction; and tested using a four-probe resistivity apparatus. This marked the first unambiguous observation of superconductivity above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, thus enabling more practical and widespread use of superconductors.

The second sentence is meant to elaborate upon the first. Word count limitations do not appear to permit much more. I don't know the precise constraints and so relied upon other milestones for guidance.

Re: New Proposed Milestone Wording -- Jrashburn (talk) 21:54, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

Given some inputs I've received via email, the following update is presented for consideration:
On this site, an oxide of yttrium, barium, and copper was conceived, produced, and found to exhibit stable, reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. By examining related superconductors, the material was formulated, synthesized by solid-state reaction, and tested on 29 January 1987 using a four-probe resistivity apparatus. This first unambiguous observation of superconductivity above the boiling point of nitrogen enabled more practical and widespread use of superconductors.

I made one small change from what was offered, replacing the second occurrence of "oxide" with "material."
Questions were also raised about trying to minimize the passive voice. Given the desire to keep the focus on the event (and not the players), I'll have to invite ideas on how that might be best achieved.

Re: Re: New Proposed Milestone Wording -- Jrashburn (talk) 13:39, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

I understand there may be a need to trim a few characters from the citation. Here are two alternatives for consideration (changes from the above version highlighted). The first uses what is probably a slightly more common description of the resistivity apparatus.
On this site, an oxide of yttrium, barium, and copper was conceived, produced, and found to exhibit stable, reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. By examining related superconductors, the material was formulated, synthesized by solid-state reaction, and tested on 29 January 1987 using a four-point resistivity probe. This first unambiguous observation of superconductivity above the boiling point of nitrogen enabled more practical and widespread use of superconductors.
The second replaces "boiling point of nitrogen" with "nitrogen boiling point."
On this site, an oxide of yttrium, barium, and copper was conceived, produced, and found to exhibit stable, reproducible superconductivity at 93 Kelvin. By examining related superconductors, the material was formulated, synthesized by solid-state reaction, and tested on 29 January 1987 using a four-probe resistivity apparatus. This first unambiguous observation of superconductivity above the nitrogen boiling point enabled more practical and widespread use of superconductors.

Citation -- JaninA (talk) 06:27, 28 September 2018 (UTC)

I understand the situation as follows: YBCO was formulated, manufactured and tested for zero resistivity (what is a sufficient proof of superconductivity) at UAH. The samples of YBCO were later tested at UH for magnetic field expulsion. And a joint paper was published. UH seems to me to be very good at marketing and image....

We do not have a procedure to modify a given Milestone even if there is new historical evidence (see Breaking the Enigma Code) or a new proposal (like the one we discuss). Had we had it would be good to modify the Citation for the UH plague. But as it is I am of the opinion that we need to be faithful to the truth, even if the wordings of two Milestones end up similar.

However the second sentence of the new Citation contains a rather ambiguous and unnecessary statement at the beginning (By examining related superconductors) and a repetition in the middle. SO it is better to go back to one of the previous versions. Especially as it is the four-point probe, and not an apparatus. Too simple to be called an apparatus....

My preference for the Citation is: "On this site, a material consisting of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen was first conceived, synthesized, tested, and -- on 29 January 1987 -- found to exhibit stable and reproducible superconductivity at 93K using a four-point resistive probe. This marked the first time the phenomenon had been unambiguously achieved above 77K, the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, thus enabling more practical and widespread use of superconductors." (66 words)

Re: Citation -- Jrashburn (talk) 13:23, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Details on the measurements: Four annealed platinum leads were attached with dots of indium to samples cut into bars of dimensions roughly 1 x 1 x 3 mm3. The samples were mounted adjacent to a non-standard alumel-chromel thermocouple (~2 mm gap spanned with thermal grease) calibrated to an accuracy of ±0.1 K at 273.16 K (melting point of H2O), ±0.3 K at 77.35 K (boiling point of LN2), and ±5 K at 4.22 K (boiling point of LHe). RMS currents of approximately 1 mA (stable to ±0.1%) at 39.9 Hz were supplied by an EG&G PAR model 5301A lock-in amplifier. Sample voltages were input to the lock-in differential preamplifier (model 5316) having an input impedance of 100 MΩ controlled dynamically by an RS232C interface to an IBM AT personal computer running custom software to continuously provide the optimum full scale sensitivity in steps of approximately one third of a decade. Thermocouple data was collected by the computer via 13-bit (12 plus sign) A/D (Industrial Computer Source IBM PC Data Acquisition System). Each data point represented an average of at least 40 readings taken over a 5 second period.

four point probe ? -- Juan Carlos (talk) 11:47, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

On a second reading, I wonder why we spend words mentioning a four-point probe ? As far as I know, this is standard for this kind of measurements. General public doesn't care about how we measure.