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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016
Author : Sudhakar
Category : Awards Current Affairs
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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016

 

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 was divided, one half awarded to David J. Thouless, the other half jointly to F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

David J. Thouless – Facts: Born: 21 September 1934, Bearsden, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Prize motivation: "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter"

Prize share: 1/2

F. Duncan M. Haldane – Facts: Born: 14 September 1951, London, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

Prize motivation: "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter"

Prize share: 1/4

J. Michael Kosterlitz – Facts: Born: 22 June 1942, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Prize motivation: "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter"

 

Prize share: 1/4

 

Prize Announcement:

Announcement of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics by Professor Göran K. Hansson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, on 4 October 2016.

 

Interview about the awarded work:

"Exotic is not a precise scientific term. Exotic is something that expresses our wonder, our wonder in front something that is very unusual, very hard to understand"

Immediately following the announcement, Professor Thors Hans Hansson, member of the Nobel Committee for Physics, was interviewed by freelance journalist Joanna Rose regarding the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.

 

Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016:

4 October 2016

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 with one half to

David J. Thouless
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

and the other half to

F. Duncan M. Haldane
Princeton University, NJ, USA

and

J. Michael Kosterlitz
Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

”for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”

They revealed the secrets of exotic matter:

 

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. 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. At around the same time, Duncan Haldane discovered how topological concepts can be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials.

We now know of many topological phases, not only in thin layers and threads, but also in ordinary three-dimensional materials. Over the last decade, this area 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. Current research is revealing the secrets of matter in the exotic worlds discovered by this year’s Nobel Laureates.


 

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