J. Georg Bednorz

IBM Research, Zurich

Election Year: 2018
Primary Section: 33, Applied Physical Sciences
Membership Type: International Member


J. Georg Bednorz was born in Neuenkirchen, NRW Germany. In 1968, he joined the University of Muenster. During his time as an undergraduate, he spent several months in 1972 and 1973 as a summer student at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Switzerland, where in 1974 he also started with the experimental part of his master’s thesis. After completing his thesis in Germany, he obtained his degree in Mineralogy/Crystallography from the University of Munster in 1976. He returned to Zurich in 1977 to start his PhD work at the Solid State Physics Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). After his PhD, he joined the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory in 1982 as a research staff member with the task to work on the synthesis and characterization of new oxide materials.  From 1983, he focused on conducting oxides to search for superconductivity at temperatures possibly beyond known limits.  This work resulted in the discovery of high temperature superconductivity in layered copper oxide compounds in 1986 and the subsequent recognition by the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1987, which he shared with his colleague K. Alex Mueller.

Research Interests

Ever since Georg Bednorz had started his research activities in the physics and chemistry of materials, he did work on perovskite type oxides, to which he had been introduced during his summer student times at the IBM Research Laboratory. His work ranged from studies of structural phase transitions, dielectric and optical properties and conduction phenomena at low temperatures, including superconductivity. Crystal chemistry and engineering has always played an important role as a prerequisite to perform all these studies and remains a major tool to improve the performance of the new high temperature superconductors. 

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