Strange matter wins British scientists Nobel Prize in Physics


Three British-born scientists who joined the brain drain to the US and broke new ground with discoveries about exotic states of matter share this year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

Professors David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz, were honoured with the top award in physics by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The prize was given in recognition of work that opened the door to a mysterious world in which matter can assume unusual states unknown in nature.

The trio used advanced mathematical modelling to study strange "phases" of matter such as superconductors, superfluids and thin magnetic films.

Their pioneering research began the hunt for new exotic materials that may have applications in electronics, magnetic devices and quantum computing.

The citation at the awards ceremony in Stockholm said the award was for "theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

Prof Thouless, 82, from the University of Washington, Seattle, will receive half the eight million krona (£729,000) prize money. The rest will be shared between Prof Haldane, from Princeton University, and Prof Kosterlitz, from Brown University.

Born in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire in 1934, Prof Thouless obtained his PhD in 1958 from Cornell University, New York.

Scottish colleague Prof Kosterlitz was born in Aberdeen in 1942. Prof Haldane, 65, was born in London in 1951.