A University of Washington emeritus professor is one of three British-born scientists who won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for their work that "revealed the secrets of exotic matter.”
David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were awarded the prize for their “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”
Thouless retired from the UW in 2003. He was awarded half the prize while the other two were awarded the other half.
"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 academy said in its citation.
"Prof. Thouless’ work is a perfect example of why curiosity-driven basic science is so vital,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce in a statement. “Not only did his discoveries open up entirely new fields of research, but they also have had implications for the electronic devices that power our world today and those that may do so in the future — everything from advanced superconductors to quantum computers to other applications we can hardly imagine.”
The announcements continue with chemistry on Wednesday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics and literature awards will be announced next week.
A Japanese scientist — Yoshinori Ohsumi — whose research is focused on how cells gets recycled by the human body was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday.