The discovery of superconductivity in cuprate high temperature superconductors in 1986 set off a massive worldwide research effort aimed at developing superconductors for practical applications perfect conductors, levitating trains, quantum electronics. Equally important was an intense theoretical and experimental effort to understand the physics responsible for the superconductivity in the cuprates, physics which differs from well understood "conventional" superconductors. Recently, an important breakthrough has shed new light on this 25 year-old problem. It has now been found that a charge density wave (CDW) state occurs generically in the cuprates, competes with superconductivity and is of central importance to many aspects of the cuprate problem. In this colloquium, I will review high temperature superconductivity, this newfound CDW state, and some of our group's recent investigations of CDW order using a novel experimental technique, resonant soft x-ray scattering.
Coffee and Refreshments will be available in SSC 1511.