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Superconductors are not just for MRI

When May 11, 2015
from 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM
Where Madingley Hall, Cambridge
Contact Name
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Professor David Cardwell, Head of Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge


The discovery of the so-called High Temperature Superconductors in 1987, which are able to conduct very high electrical currents and hence generate extremely high magnetic fields at liquid nitrogen temperatures, was heralded as the most significant scientific breakthrough since the discovery of the transistor. This talk will describe in a substantially non-mathematical way the properties of these remarkable materials, their manufacture and their potential for engineering applications, which include frictionless bearings, energy storage systems, MRI and high field permanent magnets.

About the speaker

David Cardwell studied Physics at the University of Warwick between 1980 and 1986, graduating with a BSc in 1983 and a PhD in 1987. He joined Plessey Research (Caswell) on completing his PhD prior to moving to Cambridge in 1992. He is currently Professor of Superconducting Engineering in the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, where he leads the Bulk Superconductivity Research Group on the processing and applications of bulk high temperature superconductors, which can be used to generate very high magnetic fields. He was a founder member of the European Society of Applied Superconductivity (ESAS) in 1998 and has served as a Board member and Treasurer of the Society since 2007. He is an active board member of five international journals, including Superconductor Science and Technology, and has authored over 300 technical papers and patents. He established and led the successful European Forum on bulk superconductivity (EFFORT) between 2002 and 2008, and has given invited presentations at over 60 international conferences. He was awarded the PASREG prize for excellence in the processing of bulk superconductors in 2001, and collaborates widely around the world with academic institutes and industry. Professor Cardwell was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 in recognition of his contribution to the development of superconducting materials for engineering applications. He was appointed Head of the Cambridge Department of Engineering in October 2014, and is currently Chair of the University of Cambridge Board of Graduate Studies.