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DELSU Physicist, Ekpekpo, Draws Attention To Power Of Superconductivity For Transforming Technologies

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DELSU Physicist, Ekpekpo, Draws Attention To Power Of Superconductivity For Transforming Technologies

BY BEN NWANNE

A Professor of Solid State Physics in the Department of Physics at the Delta State University, Abraka, (DELSU), Professor Arthur Ekpekpo has drawn attention to the numerous advantages derivable from the use of materials with high superconductivity capabilities in different spheres of the economy, especially in the energy sector. Professor Ekpekpo was speaking yesterday at the 102nd Inaugural Lecture of the University under the title “High Tc Superconductivity: Challenges and Prospects.”

Fully appreciative of the technical nature of his presentation, from the outset, he defined the most important term in his title, Superconductivity to mean “the name given to the phenomenon (discovered in 1911) associated with the sudden and complete disappearance of the Direct Current resistivity of some metals, which are usually good conductors, as well as other materials, at characteristic temperatures, called their critical temperature TC….”

The Physicist of note who was the best graduating student in his department at the Ambrose Alli University (formerly Edo State University) Ekpoma, in 1994, classified superconductors into two according to “the way the phase transition takes place in the presence of externally applied magnetic fields.”

According to him, type I superconductors, also called soft superconductors, “are those substances in which the entire specimen enters the normal state practically, simultaneously, the resistance returns.”

He explained the type 2 superconductors, also called hard superconductors to mean “those substances whose transition to the normal state in the presence of an external magnetic field is much more gradual. In such substances, the magnetic field is completely excluded from their bulk only for relatively weak fields.”

Professor Ekpekpo, a former Dean of Faculty of Science and former Head of Department of Physics of the university, explained to a puzzled audience the issue of high superconductivity, which is supported by the BCS theory, the basis of present-day microscopic theory of superconductivity which indicated that “the transition Tc is directly related to the force of attraction between the electrons in the superconductor.

“The occurrence of high Tc superconductivity, even with cases of direct insulator-to-superconductor transition, could be due to other mechanisms of electronic interactions capable of more efficient attraction and consequently, of providing superconducting materials with substantially higher transition temperatures.”

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Professor Ekpekpo who was announed Professor in 2015, explained that high temperature superconductivity was a fascinating phenomenon where certain materials could conduct electricity with zero resistance at temperatures much higher than conventional superconductors, adding that since the discovery of the first high temperature superconductor in 1986, the field had seen remarkable progress.

The bespectacled Professor who had been to several NUC Ad-Hoc Accreditation panels, explained that high temperature superconductors had found numerous real world applications across different industries such as their use in the construction of superconducting magnet for MRI machines, their exploration for use in high capacity power transmission cables, addresses fault current limiters i.e devices that can regulate and unit electrical currents in power grids during faults and transient events as well as their use in high performance superconducting energy storage systems.

Professor Ekpekpo, the current president of Ewu Development Clan Union, with a rich pedigree in town-and-gown synergy, deposed that high temperature superconductivity continued to be “a vibrant and active area of research, holding great promise for transforming various technologies.” He added that the challenges and exploration new avenues for discovery and application would play a crucial role in unlocking the full potential of high temperature superconductivity materials in future.

Speaking at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Egwunyenga described the inaugural lecture culture as a regular ritual of the University Community where a Professor was given an opportunity to give an account of his academic stewardship.

His words: “It is a dance of the big masquerade, a dance of dignity and accomplishment.”

According to the Professor of Parasitology and Public Health, the Inaugural Lecturer, Professor Ekpekpo, had for many years Professed Solid State Physics, describing his lecture as “exciting and remarkable.”

In decorating the inaugural lecturer with the University’s Distinguished Honorary medal, Professor Egwunyenga, who is giving DELSU an enlightened and committed leadership, further heaped encomiums on him, insisting that ‘’in Professor Ekpekpo we have a brilliant scholar. His contributions to the areas of superconductivity in power transmission is very germane’’.

Although the Vice-Chancellor is a Zoologist, but he temporarily took on the toga of a brand ambassador for Physics.

According to him, ‘’DELSU is embracing Physics and taking it to higher frontiers. When you get home, encourage your children and wards to study Physics. It is doable, with many benefits’’.

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