Giaever, Ivar

Giaever, Ivar,

1929–, Norwegian-American physicist, Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1964. He was a researcher at General Electric from 1954 to 1988, when he joined the faculty at his alma mater; he retired in 2005 as professor emeritus. With Leo Esaki and Brian Josephson, Giaever received the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics for his experimental discoveries regarding tunnelingtunneling,
quantum-mechanical effect by which a particle can penetrate a barrier into a region of space that would be forbidden by ordinary classical mechanics. Tunneling is a direct result of the wavelike properties of particles; the wave associated with a particle "decays"
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 phenomena in superconductors (see superconductivitysuperconductivity,
abnormally high electrical conductivity of certain substances. The phenomenon was discovered in 1911 by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, who found that the resistance of mercury dropped suddenly to zero at a temperature of about 4.
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). In the early 1960s, before he had even completed his doctoral work, Giaever built on Esaki's discovery of electron tunneling in semiconductors and showed that the phenomenon also occurred in superconductors. His experiments demonstrated the existence of an energy gap in superconductors, which was an important prediction of the BCS theory of superconductivity, for which Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1972.

Giaever, Ivar


Born Apr. 5, 1929, in Bergen, Norway. American physicist.

Giaever graduated from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim. He worked at the Norwegian Patent Office in Oslo in 1953 and 1954. Giaever, who became associated with the General Electric Company in 1954, moved to the United States in 1957.

Giaever received a Nobel Prize in 1973 for his contribution to the discovery of the tunnel effect in solids and the invention of the tunnel diode.

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