Science history: The man attempting to merge physics and the paranormal

In 1962, Brian D. Josephson, a 22-year-old graduate student at England’s Cambridge University, born on January 4, 1940, in Cardiff, Wales, predicted that electrical current would flow, or tunnel, between two superconducting materials – things that at low temperatures lack electrical resistance, even when they are separated by a non-superconductor, or insulator.

In quantum physics, matter can be described as both waves and particles. Emerging from this is the phenomenon of tunnelling, which sees particles pass through barriers that according to classic physics should be impassable.

Josephson’s tunnelling theory was later confirmed, and in 1973 he was one of three scientists who shared the Nobel Prize in physics. (The others were Leo Esaki and Ivar Giaever)

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