British trio win Nobel Physics Prize for exotic matter research
British scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz won the Nobel Physics Prize for revealing the secrets of exotic matter, the Nobel jury said.
“This year’s laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They 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,” it said.
The laureates will share the eight million Swedish kronor (around USD 931,000) prize sum. Thouless won one-half of the prize, while Haldane and Hosterlitz share the other half.
The jury said their pioneering work “has boosted frontline research in condensed matter physics, not least because of the hope that topological materials could be used in new generations of electronics and superconductors, or in future quantum computers.”
Topology, in which the three laureates specialise, is a branch of mathematics that investigates physical properties of matter and space that remain unchanged under deforming forces, including stretching.
It holds exceptional promise for quantum computing and tiny quantum devices as topological states can transport energy and information without overheating, unlike traditional quantum mechanics.
“They demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures andexplained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures,” the jury noted.