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Schrieffer, John Robert

physics cooper bcs theory

[ shree fer] (1931– ) US physicist: contributor to the BCS theory of super-conductivity.

After studying electrical engineering and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois, Schrieffer started working for his PhD under . Initially he worked on electrical conduction on semiconductor surfaces, but moved to superconductivity as his thesis topic. A close and fruitful collaboration with Bardeen and gave rise to the BCS (Bardeen, Cooper, Schrieffer) theory in 1957, for which all three shared the 1972 Nobel Prize for physics (see account under Bardeen and Cooper). Schrieffer became professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He has also done research on dilute alloys, ferromagnetism and surface physics.

In the formulation of BCS theory Schrieffer contributed particularly to the generalization from the properties of a single Cooper pair to that of a solid containing many pairs. Using a statistical approach he found a suitable quantum mechanical wave function that possesses the correct properties.

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