Today in History - April 17, 1986- first publication of High T-C Superconductivity in Ceramic. A breakthrough discovery was made in the field of superconductivity. Alex Muller and Georg Bednorz, researchers at the IBM Research Laboratory in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, created a brittle ceramic compound that superconducted at the highest temperature then known: 30 K. What made this discovery so remarkable was that ceramics are normally insulators. They don’t conduct electricity well at all. So, researchers had not considered them as possible high-temperature superconductor candidates. The Lanthanum, Barium, Copper and Oxygen compound that Muller and Bednorz synthesized, behaved in a not-as-yet-understood way. The discovery of this first of the superconducting copper-oxides (cuprates) won the 2 men the Nobel Prize in Physics the following year in 1987.
Also on this date in 1976, Helios B makes closest approach to the sun.