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University of Houston Receives IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing
Audrey Grayson

University of Houston Receives IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing
Award Marks Site of 1987 Discovery of High Temperature Superconductivity

On November 17, the University of Houston will receive an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Milestone Award in Electrical Engineering and Computing as the site of the discovery of high temperature superconductivity (above 77 K). 

In 1987, UH physicist Paul Chu and his colleagues found that yttrium-barium-copper-oxide exhibits superconductivity at temperatures above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. This breakthrough discovery “ushered in an era of accelerated superconductor materials science and engineering research worldwide, and led to advanced applications of superconductivity in energy, medicine, communications and transportation,” according to the plaque awarded to UH on behalf of the IEEE Milestones program.

The IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE. Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents. The award to UH is coordinated by the IEEE Houston Section and the IEEE Council on Superconductivity.

The program was established in 1983, and to date, just over 100 Milestones have been named around the world.

Dedication events for UH’s IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing will be held on Monday, Nov. 17 at the UH Hilton. The event features IEEE Milestone community lectures from 10 a.m. until noon, a tribute luncheon for IEEE officials and invited guests, and a plaque dedication ceremony from 2- 3 p.m.

The ceremony will kick off with the IEEE Community Lecture consisting of several presentations under the theme of “Superconductivity Above 77 K in Y-123: History and Applications.” Dr. J. Roberto de Marca, president and CEO of IEEE, will open the event. Paul Chu, professor of physics and chief scientist/founding director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), will present “High Temperature Cuprate Superconductors: A History.” Chu was the 1988 National Medal of Science recipient.

Additional speakers include 2003 Nobel Prize winner Sir Anthony J. Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who will present “The Physics of High Temperature Superconductors,” and Alan Lauder, executive director of the Coalition for the Commercial Application of Superconductors and president of Alan Lauder, Inc., who will address “Current and Future Applications of High Temperature Superconductors."

UH faculty and students are welcome to attend the special lectures and dedication, and are asked to RSVP to jlboulav [at] (jlboulav[at]central[dot]uh[dot]edu). Box lunches will be available on a first-come reservation basis.

The IEEE Milestone plaque will be permanently located in the lobby of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Science and Research Building 1. The discovery occurred in a lab on the 4th floor.

For more information on the UH IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing Dedication Ceremony, please click here.

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