One can argue that superconductivity in “the oxides” was discovered in 1964, 1986 or 1987, depending on which oxide is chosen: the first to show superconductivity at any temperature, the first with a Tc greater than 20 K or the first with a Tc greater than 77 K. For many of us in the field, the time we remember is probably early December 1986, when experimenters from the University of Tokyo announced at the Materials Research Society meeting in Boston that they had confirmed the earlier findings of Georg Bednorz and Alex Müller at IBM in Zurich. There followed a frenetic period of a year or so that was unique in the history of science, with the American Physical Society meeting of March 1987 representing its peak of intensity (or hype, depending on one's point of view), although a close second must have been the Washington gathering where President Reagan gave the plenary talk.

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