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Physics Nobel goes to discoverers of world of stranger things

New Scientist

The 2016 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to David Thouless from the University of Washington, Duncan Haldane from Princeton University, and to Michael Kosterlitz from Brown University for "opening the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states". Their work involved using the mathematical field of topology to look at unusual states of matter, such as superconductors and superfluids. In topology, the goal is to describe shapes and structures by some fundamental characteristics, like the number of holes. So topologically speaking, a mug is the same as a bagel, as they both have one hole, but a pretzel is different because it has two. It's hoped that their work will give rise to new developments in material science and electronics, including in quantum computing.


Weird science: 3 win Nobel for unusual states of matter

Associated Press

Professor Thors Hans Hansson gives a demonstration, after revealing the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has cited David Thouless, Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz for "theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter." The Royal Academy of Sciences members, from left, Professor Nils Martensson, Professor Goran K Hansson and Professor Thomas Hans Hansson reveal the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The Royal Academy of Sciences members, from left, Professor Nils Martensson, Professor Goran K Hansson and Professor Thomas Hans Hansson reveal the winners of the Nobel Prize in physics, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.


[In Depth] Trio wins Nobel for effects of topology on exotic matter

Science

How is a doughnut like a coffee cup but different from a coiled spring? The riddle is key to understanding this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, which honors theorists David Thouless of the University of Washington, Seattle, Michael Kosterlitz of Brown University, and Duncan Haldane of Princeton University. The answer is that, because each has one hole, the doughnut and the coffee cup have the same topology. An infinitely pliable cup could be molded into a doughnut without tearing it. The spring, on the other hand, can be unwound into a wire, flattened into a sheet, or squished into a ball.


Nobel Prize in Physics Goes to Another Weird Thing Nobody Understands

WIRED

A physicist walks into a room holding a pretzel, a bagel, and a cinnamon bun. "For us, these are very different. This one's sweet, this one's salty, they have different shapes," says the physicist. "But, if you're a topologist there's only one thing that's really interesting: This thing has no hole, the bagel has one hole, the pretzel has two holes." The pastry thing was Nobel committee member Thors Hans Hansson's best attempt to explain topology, the core concept behind the winner of this year's prize for physics, "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."


Strange matter wins physics Nobel

BBC News

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three British-born scientists for discoveries about strange forms of matter. David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, will share the 8m kronor ( 727,000) prize. They were named at a press conference in Sweden, and join a prestigious list of 200 other Physics laureates recognised since 1901. The Nobel Committee said the work had "opened the door on an unknown world". When matter is very cold or extremely flat, scientists start to see unusual behaviour from the atoms.