The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three British citizens who today live and work in the United States, and who “revealed the secrets of exotic matter” – David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and John Michael Kosterlitz.

Thouless, 82, is a professor emeritus at University of Washington, and won one half of the award himself. Haldane, 65, is a physics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, and Kosterlitz, 73, is a physics professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The two men split the second half of the award.

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Kosterlitz was born during World War II, in 1942, to German Jewish immigrants in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Together the three British citizens were awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” All three of the scientists now work in the United States.

Each worked to use topological concepts in physics, a branch of mathematics used to discover new information about the world around us. Their discovery helps to explain how matter can exist in strange states in some realms, thus providing scientists with the information they need to further explore the potential of new materials.

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