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Fellows Directory

George Pickett

Professor George Pickett FRS

Fellow


Elected: 1997

Biography

George Pickett is particularly renowned for his pioneering development of the nuclear refrigeration technique and its application to the investigation of superfluid helium-3 in the ballistic excitation regime below 200 microkelvins. Early heat capacity measurements at Oxford were followed at Helsinki by investigations of rare earth hyperfine heat capacities as well as precision measurements of the lambda point and phase separation anomalies in liquid helium isotopic mixtures. At Lancaster, George and Tony Guénault developed a novel form of nuclear refrigeration, using finely divided copper immersed in liquid helium-3 to overcome thermal boundary resistances. This led, in due course, to the lowest temperatures yet achieved in pure helium-3, in isotopic solutions, and in metals. The vibrating wire viscometer was ingeniously exploited to discover new nonlinear effects in superfluid helium-3 associated with the ballistic propagation of excitations, and satisfying explanations of the phenomena were devised.