John Bardeen

Rohine Joshi bio photo By Rohine Joshi Comment

Today, superconducting technology is used in the world’s most sensitive detectors of magnetic fields, with applications ranging from oil prospecting to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and medical imaging (MRI). John Bardeen - the only physicist awarded Nobel prize twice, is the father of the great BCS theory.

John Bardeen

The BCS theory was developed by Leon N Cooper, John Robert Schrieffer and John Bardeen in 1972. The theory supplies a means by which the energy required to separate the Cooper pairs into their individual electrons can be measured experimentally. The BCS theory also explains the isotope effect.

Along with BCS theory, the Nobel Laureate also invented transistors. The transistor revolutionized the electronics industry, making possible the development of almost every modern electronic device, from telephones to computers, and ushering in the Information Age. In order to come up with the need of better amplifiers, Bardeen realized that electrons at the surface of the silicon crystal could conspire to form an electrical screen, that can be used as a semiconductor amplifier. Later, it was renamed as Transistor. Bardeen was inclined towards pure sciences, and he used to suggest ideas, develop mathematical models, and interpret experimental results. Along with being a great scientist, Bardeen was a great human being - a modest and unassuming man. He is depicted as one among 100 most influential Americans of the century in 1990. Contrary to the usual stereotypes, he was neither an egomaniac nor a tortured genius. A loving husband and father, he was a gracious man with a sweetness of spirit who loved to play golf with his buddies on the weekends. Bardeen had a strong sense of team bonding. “Science is a collaborative effort. The combined results of several people working together is often much more effective than could be that of an individual scientist working alone” said Bardeen, receiving the Nobel award in 1972.

Happy Birthday to John Bardeen; to a revolutionary scientist, an inspirational human being, and the only physicist who was awarded the Nobel prize twice!

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