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Nobel-winning alumnus lecture set for April 15

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 25 - March 27, 1997

Robert C. Richardson, a Virginia Tech alumnus and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics, will describe his award-winning research in a lecture geared to the general audience Tuesday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Squires Colonial Hall.

"Significant Kinks: The Discovery of a Superfluid" will be about the discovery that won the Nobel Prize for Richardson and two of his colleagues-a fellow professor and a former doctoral student at Cornell University where Richardson is the Floyd R. Newman professor of physics and director of the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics.

The trio discovered that a helium isotope, helium-3, can be made into a superfluid-which flows without resistance-at about two-thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. The discovery is outside the realm of classical physics, which holds that movement always causes resistance.

Superfluidity in helium-3 is similar to superconductivity in metals. The discovery led to important insights about superconductivity-why it happens and perhaps how to make new superconducting devices.

Richardson earned a B.S. in physics in 1958 and an M.S. in physics in 1960, both from Virginia Tech, and the Ph.D. in physics in 1966 from Duke University.

No reservations are necessary to attend the talk. For more information, call 1-5396.