National High Magnetic Field Laboratory > Applied Superconductivity Center > 100 Years of Superconducting Materials

Applied Superconductivity Center Historical Archive

Link: A Brief History of Superconductivity up to the discovery of HTS - Peter J. Lee (Applied Superconductivity Center, NHMFL, FSU)

Link: IEEE Council on Superconductivity Oral Histories

Beginning at the 2014 Applied Superconductivity Conference in Charlotte NC, the IEEE Council on Superconductivity and the IEEE History Center have been interviewing key figures to help preserve the history of the Council and of the field of applied superconductivity.

100 Years of Superconductivity

Editor(s): Horst Rogalla, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands; Peter H. Kes, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

Errata: Please contact the authors directly for their corrected contributions:

A partial errata is downloadable here.


Section 11.2: Nb-Ti - from beginnings to perfection

Peter J. Lee and Bruce Strauss

The linked version here appears in the form originally intended by the authors and has been made available for academic use only.


Plenary talks from the Centennial EUCAS meeting are available at:


Supplemental Material for Sections 11.2 and 11.3

Due to space limitations for this book some important contributions and additional information were regrettably left out of the published work but are made available here as an archival record.


From the frontlines of the battle between the spongists and the purists:

Hake, R.R. 2011. "Early History of High Field Superconductivity: 1930- 1967, A Tragicomedy in Twelve Acts," scanned transparencies from seminars at Indiana University and UC-San Diego in 1989; a 8.4 MB pdf at <>. Also accessible as ref. 65 at <>. Courtesy of - Richard Hake (Emeritus Professor, Department of Physics, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405)

See also: Berlincourt, T.; , "Type II superconductivity: Quest for understanding," Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on , vol.23(2), pp. 403- 412, Mar 1987 doi: 10.1109/TMAG.1987.1065156, direct download from IEEE: <>
Also available as part of Paul Grant's collection of Classic Superconductivity Papers at: <>

A new contribution is from T.G. Berlincourt, "Niobium-Titanium: Workhorse Supermagnet Material," is a layman-level account of the Nb-Ti saga transmitted to Case Western Reserve University at its request as a contribution to their alumni "big ideas" project: <>

Richard Hake (left) and Ted Berlincourt (right) July 1961

Richard Hake (left) and Ted Berlincourt (right) pictured in an Atomics International Skywriter article about new patents (July 7th, 1961). Berlincourt and Hake had made their first measurements of high critical current densities at high magnetic fields in Nb-Ti on 17 April 1961.


Gordon Chase provided a light hearted remembrance for the EUCAS Centennial History in 2011 (aided by Al McInturff, Clay Whetstone and Bill McDonald) of his experiences in the development of superconducting strand from his years at Atomics International, followed by Clay's founding of Cryomagnetics and Pacific Magnetic Structures as well as the back story to the development of the ECN-PIT process for Nb3Sn. His autobiographical history available here:

Chase, G.G.C, 2010, "Super History"

Contact Gordon Chase (java script encoded email address):


For the EUCAS Centennial History in 2011 Phil Charlesworth provided a personal history covering the development of superconductors at the UKAEA Research Establishment at Harwell and space was available for only a brief extract. The Nb3Sn phase diagram work at Harwell, led by Phil Charlesworth, is still the basis of our understanding of the Nb:Sn system and the story behind its development is one of the important aspects of Nb3Sn history that was not included in the book. The full article, which also covers some of the Nb-Ti development at Harwell, is available in full here:

Charlesworth, P., 2010, "Some reminiscences of two decades of research on high-field superconductors"

Robert Remsbottom brought some archival images from the Atomics International program (which closed down in 1966) to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Some of the images are shown here:
Atomics International Gallery

In addition Bob left some early pictures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after Roger Boom and Bob Remsbottom relocated there from Atomics International:

Roger Boom's Group at UW-Madison


Remembering John Hulm

At the the 2004 Applied Superconductivity Conference we celebrated the life and achievements of John Hulm at a special session. A web page was created of that meeting with a collection of remembrances:

John Hulm Memorial Session: 50 years of high field superconductivity and the next 50 years!


Consider donating historical material to the IEEE Council on Superconductivity Archive: Contact Peter J. Lee