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

Revision as of 18:00, 7 March 2018 by Juan Carlos (talk | contribs) (-- ~~~~: new section)

Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

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 ( 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,, 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, …)


Existing Milestone (Univ of Houston),_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.