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Physics Nobel awarded for work with ‘strange matter’

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 10:26
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(Before It's News)

Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel prize in physics for their work with ‘strange’ types of matter.

The award-winning works from David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz could result in better materials for electronics and cutting edge computing. The Nobel committee described the trio’s work as “opening the door on an unknown world.”

Specifically, the scientists were awarded for their groundbreaking work with matter that is very cold or very flat. Under these extreme conditions, conventional matter begins to exhibit very unconventional behavior.

“I was very surprised and very gratified,” Haldane said, according to BBC News. “The work was a long time ago but it’s only now that a lot of tremendous new discoveries are based on this original work, and have extended it.”

Uncommon States of Matter

All three scientists used calculations to describe odd physical effects in uncommon states of matter, like superconductors, superfluids and ultra-thin magnetic films.

The winning research from Kosterlitz and Thouless looked at phenomena that come up in flat varieties of matter, on surfaces or within incredibly thin layers, so thin they might be deemed two-dimensional. Haldane’s work looked at matter that forms threads so slender, they can be thought of as one-dimensional.

“Today’s advanced technology – take for instance our computers – rely on our ability to understand and control the properties of the materials involved,” said Nils Mårtensson, acting chairperson of the Nobel committee.

“And this year’s Nobel laureates in their theoretical work discovered a set of totally unexpected regularities in the behavior of matter, which can be described in terms of an established mathematical concept – namely, that of topology.”

“This has paved the way for designing new materials with novel properties and there is great hope that this will be important for many future technologies,” Mårtensson added.

Thouless is an emeritus professor at the University of Washington. Haldane is currently a professor of physics at Princeton University. Kosterlitz is currently affiliated with Brown University. All three men will split the nearly $1 million prize.


Image credit: Europhoto Pressphoto Agency 

The post Physics Nobel awarded for work with ‘strange matter’ appeared first on Redorbit.
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