2016 Nobel Prize in Physics Award Goes to three British Scientists

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Nobel Prize

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Finally the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics are announced and it is awarded to three British scientists for their research and eventual discoveries. The eight million Swedish Kronor (Rs 6.18 crore) prize will be shared among David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz for their extraordinary contribution to physics and science. The Nobel committee said these three scientists have “opened the door on an unknown world” into a world “where matter can assume strange states.” 

These three scientists have used advanced mathematical methods, topological concepts that have ultimately helped them in their path breaking discoveries. Their works can have future application in science and electronics. There has been “frontline research in condensed matter physics” due to original work from these three Laureates. Their work is hoping that in future topological materials could be used in new generations of electronics and superconductors, or in future quantum computers.

The Discovery

As per their research goes it revealed something unusual. The three geniuses saw an unusual behaviour from the atoms when the matter is very cold or extremely flat. These phenomena complement the more familiar phases of matter when things change from solid to liquid to gas. Their path breaking work has discovered a new way that will help the scientists in designing new materials in future.

Acting chairman of the Nobel committee, Prof Nils Mårtensson, commented that Today’s advanced technology like computers relies on our ability to understand and control the properties of the materials involved. And there lies the importance of the work of three of the scientists.

“And this year’s Nobel laureates in their theoretical work discovered a set of totally unexpected regularities in the behaviour of matter, which can be described in terms of an established mathematical concept – namely, that of topology.

“This has paved the way for designing new materials with novel properties and there is great hope that this will be important for many future technologies.”

The Laureates

David Thouless was born in 1934 in Bearsden and is an emeritus professor at the University of Washington.

Michael Kosterlitz was born in 1942 in Aberdeen and is currently affiliated to Brown University.

Duncan Haldane was born in 1951 in London and is a professor of physics at Princeton University. He commented after the news: “I was very surprised and very gratified.”

“The work was a long time ago but it’s only now that a lot of tremendous new discoveries are based on this original work, and have extended it.”

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