David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane And Michael Kosterlitz won 2016 Nobel Prize In Physics

Oct 4, 2016 17:47 IST

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics was on 4 October 2016 one half awarded to David J Thouless and 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.

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David J Thouless is a Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. While, F. Duncan M. Haldane is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, USA and J Michael Kosterlitz is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown University, USA.

All three will jointly share the 8 million Swedish kronor prize.

Discoveries of all three Laureates

• All three Laureates used topological concepts in physics for their discoveries.
• 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.
• 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.

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