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British trio David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz win 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics

British trio of physicists David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz have won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. They will share the 8 million Swedish kronor prize.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected them for their individual researches on theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.

Key Facts

  • Their research work centres on Topology, a branch of mathematics involving step-wise changes like making a series of holes in an object.
  • For example when matter goes from solid to liquid to gas different phases are obvious, but materials can also undergo topological step changes which affect their electrical properties.
  • Such changes can be seen in a superconductor, which at low temperatures conducts electricity without resistance.
  • These trio physicists had worked in the field of condensed matter physics and have discovered totally unexpected behaviours of solid materials.
  • Based on their individual discoveries they came up with a mathematical framework in the field of topology to explain these weird properties.
  • The discoveries have paved the way for designing new materials with all sorts of novel properties that have significant potential revolutionize advances in electronics and future quantum computers.

About Awardees

  • David J Thouless: He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, US.
  • Duncan M. Haldane: He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, US.
  • J Michael Kosterlitz: He is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown University, US.

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