The winners of the 2016 Physics Nobel Prize have been announced.
The Physics Nobel Prize 2016 winners are David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz. At 11:45am CET, the Physics Nobel Prize 2016 was announced in Sweden by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
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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.
The 2016 Nobel Laureate in Physics joins the ranks of famous winners of the prize including Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Marie Curie, James Chadwick, J.J. Thomson and Erwin Schroedinger. Physics Nobel Prize winners are the youngest of all laureates with an average age of 55. This means they have the most life time left to spend the $1 million.
The Nobel Prize is still the most prestigious award a scientist can hope to win. The $1 million Nobel prize money is nice, but the call yourself a Nobel Prize winner is maybe even more worth than getting knighted by the Queen of England.
The 2016 Nobel Prize announcements are spread out over the next days. The 2016 Peace Nobel Prize will be announced on Friday. Below is the complete schedule so you do not miss any of the live Nobel Prize announcements.
2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:
Wednesday 5 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest
Peace Nobel Prize 2016:
Friday 7 October, 11:00 a.m.
2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences:
Monday 10 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest
2016 Nobel Prize in Literature:
The date will be set later
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