Cryogenics and Superconductivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what research is being done into cryogenics and superconductivity.

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

Of the research establishments for which my noble Friend is responsible, the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell is carrying out work on the superconductivity of thin metallic films and on the relationship of metallic structure to superconductivity, while work on the mixing of helium III and helium IV has led to a new method of cooling to low temperatures. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is undertaking work on the influence of metallurgical factors and other physical variables on superconductivity and on the development of a cryotron at the National Physical Laboratory. It is also supporting work in universities.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

In the United States this sort of development goes side by side with the missile programme. Is the hon. Member quite certain that the results of this research are being transferred to British industries?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

I think that is the position. I should naturally be glad to receive any criticisms of which the hon. Member may have heard. There is a panel which exists to Co-ordinate and stimulate research into this subject, and very little of it in this country comes under any kind of security blanket.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr

I am sorry to confess my ignorance, but will my hon. Friend tell me what is the meaning of cryogenics?

Photo of Mr Denzil Freeth Mr Denzil Freeth , Basingstoke

Very roughly, it is doing things at extremely low temperatures.