IOP fellow Duncan Haldane shares Nobel Prize in Physics

4 October 2016

Three British-born physicists, including IOP fellow Professor Duncan Haldane, will share this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on exotic states of matter.

IOP fellow Duncan Haldane shares Nobel Prize in Physics
©®The Nobel Foundation.Photo: Lovisa Engblom

Half of the prize will go to Professor David Thouless of the University of Washington and the other half will be shared between Professor Michael Kosterlitz of Brown University, US and Professor Duncan Haldane of Princeton University, US.

Their award is for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”. Their work involved using advanced mathematical methods to explain phenomena in unusual phases of matter, the Nobel Foundation said.

All three gained their first degrees at the University of Cambridge, including Haldane, who was born in London. After moving to the US he conducted research at Bell Laboratories and Princeton University, where he is now Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics.

IOP fellow Duncan Haldane shares Nobel Prize in Physics

Kosterlitz, who was born in Aberdeen, followed his first degree with a DPhil from the University of Oxford and later collaborated with Thouless, both at the University of Birmingham, where he became a reader, and at Cornell University in the US. He is now a professor of physics at Brown University. His many awards include the IOP’s Maxwell Medal and Prize (1981).




IOP fellow Duncan Haldane shares Nobel Prize in Physics

Thouless was born in Bearsden, Scotland, and is a fellow of the Royal Society. He gained his PhD at Cornell University and was a professor of mathematical physics at the University of Birmingham before becoming a professor of physics at the University of Washington. Among many awards he received the IOP’s Dirac Medal and Prize in 1993.

The IOP’s president, Professor Roy Sambles, said: “It is very exciting to celebrate today three British physicists, one of whom is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, who have been recognised for their work in condensed matter and in nuclear matter physics. Collectively their research has brought wide-ranging fresh insights into how materials behave and interact at an atomic level.

“Their work in topological phase transitions, spin glasses, superconductivity, fractional quantum hall effect and so much more has paved the way for many new developments in material physics as well as in the quantum world.

“I hope their pioneering work will continue to inspire the next generation of theorists, particularly British ones, as their collective success illustrates that British physics and British physicists can still lead the world.”