Physicist M. Brian Maple has only one regret about being named to the University of California, San Diego's, first Bernd T. Matthias Chair in Physics: that the late scientist for whom the chair is named, who was also Maple's teacher and mentor, is not able to share the honor with him, as well as witness the latest discoveries in the field of high-temperature superconductivity.

Maple, 50, says his appointment to the chair named for his former thesis adviser means as much sentimentally as it does as a recognition of his scientific contributions: "It's very special for me." The chair was established by the university's Board of Regents to honor the UC-San Diego professor and superconductivity pioneer who died in 1980.

Maple's research has focused on high-temperature superconductivity and magnetism. "It's been a very exciting field over the years," he says. One specific area of his work has dealt with the...

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