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Born in Helberhausen, Germany, Ochsenfeld studied physics at the Philipps University of Marburg. Subject of his PhD was ferromagnetism. In 1932-1933 he worked at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR) in Berlin in the low temperature group headed by Meißner. Leaving the PTR he taught at the Napola in Potsdam until 1940, followed by research for new weapons in world war II. After the war he worked until retirement in the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the successor of the PTR with focus on magnetic materials.
 The next great milestone in understanding how matter behaves at extreme cold temperatures occurred in 1933. German researchers Walther Meissner (above left) and Robert Ochsenfeld (above right) discovered that a superconducting material will repel a magnetic field (below graphic). A magnet moving by a conductor induces currents in the conductor. This is the principle on which the electric generator operates. But, in a superconductor the induced currents exactly mirror the field that would have otherwise penetrated the superconducting material - causing the magnet to be repulsed. This phenomenon is known as strong diamagnetism and is today often referred to as the "Meissner effect" (an eponym). The Meissner effect is so strong that a magnet can actually be levitated over a superconductive material.