Friday, October 7, 2016

Nobel for physics awarded. Opened the door to new areas of research – Focus

David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for theoretical discoveries concerning the topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. According to experts, they gave the beginning of an extensive area of research.

Thanks to the discoveries of this year’s Nobel prize in physics scientists to better understand the properties of matter. Theoretical progress may affect the development of new materials and the progress in the construction of, for example, quantum computers explained on Tuesday the Nobel Committee.

Half a monetary prize of SEK 8 million (that is about 850 thousand euros) will receive the David J. Thouless of the University of Washington in Seattle, the other half is shared by F. Duncan M. Haldane (Princeton University) and J. Michael Kosterlitz (brown Universyity in Providence).

to explain the unusual phenomena associated with the world phases of matter and phase transitions, David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz have used mathematical methods, topology. Topology is an important branch of mathematics concerned with the study of ownership that does not change even after significant zdeformowaniu objects such as geometric figures, bodies and objects with a large number of measurements.

Using advanced mathematical methods of the winners this year were analyzed unusual States of matter – superconductors conducting electrical current without resistance, superciecze deprived of the viscosity of thin magnetic layers.

Kosterlitz and Thouless investigated phenomena are present in the “flat” world: on the surface or in layers so thin that they can be considered as two-dimensional compared with three-dimensional (having length, width and thickness), and which we encounter every day. Haldane was tested also matter, which forms threads so thin that they can be considered one-dimensional.

In the 80-ies. David Duncan Haldane and Thouless presented a pioneering theoretical work, which had questioned existing theories regarding which materials can conduct electrical current. Thouless, using the topology described quantum Hall effect – the resistance changes occurring in thin conductive layers located between two layers of semiconductor in a strong magnetic field and at temperatures close to absolute zero. It turned out that these changes can take only certain integer values (1, 2, 3…), without intermediate States. The topology was the right key for the explanation of this puzzle – the electrons in the conductive layer between the semiconductor layers move freely, forming a so-called ” topologiczną quantum liquid. The change in resistance is precisely the quantum – occur gradually rather than continuously.

Another theoretical discovery occurred in 1988, when Duncan Haldane found that topological quantum liquid (such as that associated with quantum Hall effect) can be created in thin semiconductor layers even without the presence of a magnetic field. In 2014, managed to confirm experimentally the results of Haldane, studying the behavior of atoms chilled nearly to the temperature of absolute zero.

David Thouless, a physicist working in condensed matter, after graduating from Winchester College, studied at the College of Trinity Hall at the British University of Cambridge, where in 1955. he received a bachelor’s degree. Then for four years conducted research on nuclear matter under the guidance of Hans Bethe at Cornell University, where in 1958. he received a doctoral title. After several years spent at the University of California at Berkeley, worked (in the period 1965-1978) as Professor of mathematical physics at Birmingham University British. There he worked with others this year noblistą physics John. Michael Kosterlitzem. Since 1980-Professor (now retired) of physics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Frederick Michael Duncan Haldane was born in London on 14 September 1951. He studied at Cambridge University, where in 1978 he did his doctorate. In the years 1977-1981 he worked at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, 1981 to 1985 was a senior lecturer of physics at the University of Southern California. Two years later (1985-87), he worked at the famous Bell Laboratories, and then as Professor of physics to move to the University of California at San Diego (1987-90). Since 1990 he is Professor of physics at Princeton University. For nine years (1990-99) were also associated with the Aspen Center for Physics.

Michael Kosterlitz graduated from Cambridge University and Oxford University, where in 1969 he did a PhD in particle physics (high energy physics). He was also conducting research at the Instituto di Fisica Teorica in Turin, Italy and at Cornell University, Princeton University, Bell Telephone Laboratories and Harvard University. He worked at the Department of Mathematical Physics University of Birmingham, where he worked with others noblistą – David Thoulessem. From 34 years J. Michael Kosterlitz Professor of physics at the American brown University in Providence (Rhode island, USA).

Kosterlitz proposed by the AP to comment on the award of his award, said: “It was a piece of work I’ve completed like a really silly post-Doc (Dr., trainee podoktorski – approx. PAP)”. Haldane estimated that his work is a sort of basis. “This is a very theoretical research. Makes sense as the work of other scientists,” he said.

Professor Ivan Dietl from Institute of Physics of pan, estimated in an interview with REUTERS that the Nobel laureates were early pioneers if we are talking about theoretical research on the phenomena topologicznymi. Research in this field but gained value in recent years. “This award is expected, it is not a surprise,” he commented. In turn, Professor James Tworzydło Department of Physics, University of Warsaw this year’s Nobel Prize in physics is highly theoretical and amazing. “Was conferred on her for a beautiful piece of physics thinking and mathematical culture, but also the opening of the Nobel laureates in daily life have not transferred,” said an investigator.

the work of the current Nobel laureates gave rise to the field of research, thereby contributing to the development of new concepts, camera mathematical and computational methods, – said in a conversation with PAP physicist, Dean of the Faculty of Fundamental Problems of Technology of the Polytechnic University of Wroclaw, Professor Eugene Wójs. He added that in honor of this theme is expected in the past year.


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