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Bernd Theodor Matthias (June 8, 1918 – October 27, 1980) was a German-born American physicist credited with discoveries of hundreds of elements and alloys with superconducting properties.[1][2] He was said to have discovered more elements and compounds with superconducting properties than any other scientist.[1]


Education and careerEdit

Matthias was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 8, 1918. He received his PhD in physics from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1943. He immigrated to the United States in 1947 and went to work for Bell Laboratories.

He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago before joining the physics faculty of University of California, San Diego in 1961. He remained at UCSD for the rest of his career, conducting research and mentoring students who became distinguished physicists in their turn. He is best known for his work on solid state physics and the behavior of matter at extremely low temperatures; he also did important work on ferroelectricity.[3] Matthias was also a member of the JASON defense advisory group.[4]



The University of California, San Diego has an endowed chair in physics named for him; the Bernd T. Matthias Chair in Physics is currently held by M. Brian Maple, who received his PhD under Mathias.

The Bernd T. Matthias Prize for Superconducting Materials was created in 1989 and is awarded annually at the M2S (Materials and Mechanisms of Superconductivity) Conference to recognize innovative contributions to the material aspects of superconductivity. The award was originally sponsored by Bell Labs; since 2000 it has been sponsored by the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston, whose founding director, Paul C. W. Chu, was Matthias’ former student.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b New York Times:Bernd T. Matthias Is Dead at 62; Discovered Key Superconductor; Significance of Superconductors
  2. ^ a b c National Academies Press: Biographical Memoirs V.70 (1996);National Academy of Sciences (NAS);BERND THEODOR MATTHIAS;BY T. H. GEBALLE AND J. K. HULM
  3. ^ "Dr. Bernd T. Matthias died" (PDF). UC San Diego news release. October 28, 1980. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  4. ^ Aaserud, Finn (May 4, 1987). "Oral History Transcript — Dr. Matthew Sands". American Institute of Physics.
  5. ^ American Physical Society:James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials
  6. ^ "Bernd T. Matthias Prize". M2S. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.

External linksEdit