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Royal Society Fellows win Nobel Prize in Physics 2016

04 October 2016

Professor Frederick Duncan M. Haldane FRS and Professor David J. Thouless FRS have won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. They share the Prize with Professor J. Michael Kosterlitz.


Professor Alex Halliday FRS, Vice President and Physical Secretary of the Royal Society said:

“I am delighted to hear that two Royal Society Fellows, Professors Haldane and Thouless, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics this year. We offer our congratulations to them and to Professor Kosterlitz on this great achievement.”

Duncan Haldane is a physicist whose work has overturned previously accepted theories. His original insights into a variety of problems have stimulated advances in both quantum field theory — the construction of mechanical models of tiny particles — and condensed matter physics, the physical properties of condensed matter. His work has applications that include the modelling of the early Universe.

David Thouless has made many important contributions to the theory of many-body problems. For nuclei, he cleared up the concept of ‘rearrangement energy’ and derived an expression for the moment of inertia of deformed nuclei. In statistical mechanics, he has contributed many ideas to the understanding of ordering, including the concept of ‘topological ordering’. Other important results relate to localised electron states in disordered lattices.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was also announced this week. Royal Society Fellow, Professor Sir J. Fraser Stoddart FRS was one of the recipients for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.