Science of 'exotic' states of matter lands Nobel physics prize

STOCKHOLM, Oct 4 (Reuters) - British-born scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for their studies of unusual states of matter, which may open up new applications in electronics.

Their discoveries, using advanced mathematics, had boosted research in condensed matter physics and raised hopes for uses in new generations of electronics and superconductors or future quantum computers, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

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2015 Nobel Peace Prize Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT)'s secretary general, Houcine Abassi, poses for a photo in Sao Paulo on October 11, 2015. Abassi was awarded the Peace Prize along with the other members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet -Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) and Tunisian Order of Lawyers--the Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced, for helping rescue the only democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring, in a hugely symbolic show of support for the country after a wave of jihadist attacks. AFP PHOTO / MIGUELSCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
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A combo of pictures taken on October 9, 2015 January 7, 2015 in Tunis shows (LtoR from up) President of the Tunisian employers union (UTICA) Wided Bouchamaoui; Tunisian lawyer Fadhel Mahfoudh; President of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), Abdessattar ben Moussa and Secretary General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) Houcine Abbassi. Tunisian mediators of the socalled National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts UTICA, Tunisian Human Rights League LTDH and Tunisian Order of Lawyers) won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced on October 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter," the academy said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($937,000) prize.

"Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics."

Thouless was awarded half the prize with the other half divided between Haldane and Kosterlitz. Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, told a news conference the winners had discovered a set of totally unexpected regularities in the behavior of matter.

"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," he said.

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Physics is the second of this year's crop of Nobels and comes after Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the prize for medicine on Monday.

As Nobel physics laureates, the trio of researchers join the ranks of some of the greatest names in science, including Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie.

The prizes were first awarded in 1901 to honor achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with the will of the Swedish dynamite inventor and business tycoon Alfred Nobel, who left much of his wealth to establish the award.

For a graphic on Nobel laureates, click on: http://tmsnrt.rs/1jLPeM7

($1 = 8.5364 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, Bjorn Rundstrom, Simon Johnson and Johan Ahlander; Writing by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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