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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane & Michael Kosterlitz for sharing secrets of exotic matter

By   /  October 4, 2016  /  Comments Off on The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane & Michael Kosterlitz for sharing secrets of exotic matter

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Sweden/ New Delhi: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced today (04 October 2016) the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016. Three British-born scientists won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics:  David J. Thouless; F. Duncan M. Haldane; J. Michael Kosterlitz. The trio scientists won the award for their research work  on “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”

These scientists are now working in USA universities: David J. Thouless, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA ; F. Duncan M. Haldane, Princeton University, NJ, USA ; J. Michael Kosterlitz, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. They revealed the secrets of exotic matter.  This year’s Laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states.

These scientists have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics.

The three Laureates’ use of topological concepts in physics was decisive for their discoveries. Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that only change step-wise. Using topology as a tool, they were able to astound the experts. In the early 1970s, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless overturned the then current theory that superconductivity or suprafluidity could not occur in thin layers. They demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures.

In the 1980s, Thouless was able to explain a previous experiment with very thin electrically conducting layers in which conductance was precisely measured as integer steps. He showed that these integers were topological in their nature. Current research is revealing the secrets of matter in the exotic worlds discovered by this year’s Nobel Laureates.

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