Twenty years of high Tc superconductivity

The discovery that superconductivity can occur at temperatures as high as 150 kelvins in copperoxides triggered twenty years ago a hype with no precedent in the history of physics.

However, as a beneficial side effect these systems were thoroughly studied and in the course of time it became clear that at the heart of the phenomenon lies one of the great mysteries of physics.

It is about the general laws governing the collective quantum behaviors of large numbers of strongly interacting electrons and I will attempt to get across the fascination by telling stories about what has been learned in the last twenty years: the stripes, or why this electron world has more to do with rush hour traffic than with Fermi’s electron gas; Planckian dissipation, or why we know for sure that high Tc’s normal state is characterized by a scale invariant quantum dynamics and why this implies that Fermi-Dirac statistics has dealings with pretty pictures.