Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL's Mook wins Onnes Prize for superconductivity research

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 14, 2012 — Herbert A. Mook Jr., a UT-Battelle Senior Corporate Fellow at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has won the 2012 H. Kamerlingh Onnes Prize, awarded for outstanding experiments in the study of superconductivity.

Mook was cited "for several decades of important neutron spectroscopy and diffraction experiments on superconductors, especially those with magnetic tendencies."

The Onnes Prize, named after the winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of superconductivity and related research, is awarded every three years for outstanding experiments in superconductivity, or the absence of electrical resistance in certain materials at extremely cold, typically near absolute zero, temperatures.

Mook is a leader in the investigation of superconductivity at warmer, and thus more easily attainable, temperatures, which holds tremendous promise in numerous energy efficiency-related applications such as transmission of electricity and transportation.

"Herb Mook's inclusion in this year's Onnes Prize is extremely well deserved recognition for a career that has provided the scientific community with valuable insight into the puzzle of high-temperature superconductivity," said ORNL Director Thom Mason. "Researchers will be building on his discoveries for many years to come."

He shares the 2012 award with two others: O.H. Fischer of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and T.K. Klapwijk of the California Institute of Technology. The award is sponsored by Elsevier Science, publisher of PHYSICA C Superconductivity and Applications.

Mook began his distinguished career in 1965 at ORNL, where he has expanded his neutron scattering research to investigate the interaction of magnetism and superconductivity. Among Mook's diverse range of experiments utilizing neutron analysis, he and collaborators have studied the nature of the magnetic structure and fluctuations in high-temperature superconductors using ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor.

Mook served as the first scientific director of the Spallation Neutron Source from 1995 to 2000 and the director of the Center for Neutron Science from 2000 to 2004. He has twice received the DOE Award for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishments in Solid State Physics, in 1982 and 1998.

In 2010 the Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA) awarded Mook the Clifford Shull Prize, named in honor of the 1994 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Shull mentored Mook during his doctoral studies at Harvard University.

In addition to authoring some 225 papers with a total of 9,000 citations, Mook holds several patents for neutron instrumentation he has developed, two of which received R&D 100 Awards. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the NSSA.

The Onnes Prize will be awarded at a ceremonial session of the International Meeting on Superconductivity this summer in Washington, D.C.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the DOE Office of Science.