The 2016 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, three theoretical physicists whose research used the unexpected mathematical lens of topology to investigate phases of matter and the transitions between them. Topology is a branch of mathematics that deals with understanding shapes of objects; it's interested in'invariants' that don't change when a shape is deformed, like the number of holes an object has. Physics is the study of matter and its properties. The Nobel Prize winners were the first to make the connection between these two worlds. The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three Brits for their research into'exotic matter'.