04 October 2016 Current Affairs: The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics was one half awarded to David J Thouless and the other half jointly to F Duncan M Haldane and J Michael Kosterlitz for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.David J Thouless is a Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. While, F. Duncan M. Haldane is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, USA and J Michael Kosterlitz is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown University, USA.
All three will jointly share the 8 million Swedish kronor prize.
Discovered by : All three Laureates used topological concepts in physics for their discoveries.
In the early 1970s, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless overturned the then current theory that superconductivity or suprafluidity could not occur in thin layers.
They demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures. In the 1980s, Thouless was able to explain a previous experiment with very thin electrically conducting layers in which conductance was precisely measured as integer steps.
At around the same time, Duncan Haldane discovered how topological concepts can be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials.