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Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Nobel prize was given for the discovery, which “stumbled”

In Sweden named winners of the Nobel prize in physics. This year they were scientists David Towles from the University of Washington, Duncan Haldane of Princeton and Michael Kosterlitz brown. Their reward for the discovery of topological transitions and topological phases of matter. But as far as this achievement is important and when people will be able to use it in real life?

According to a press release of the Nobel Committee, the scientists developed advanced mathematical methods for describing the unusual phases and properties of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids, and magnetic tapes. Scientists have made possible the current search of unusual phases of matter which lead many researchers in the world. It is expected that in the future the fruits of their work will apply in the field of material science and electronics.

“The discovery of topological insulators and graphene teaches us humility”

In the early 1970-ies Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless using mathematical methods, rewrote existing theory of superconductivity. They showed that superconductivity and superfluidity is not observed in thin layers of matter. While the second may occur at low temperatures. They also explained the phase transitions that cause the superconductivity to disappear at higher temperatures.

In the 1980s Towles could explain previous study of very thin conductive layers, in which the conductivity was measured in whole steps. He showed that these numbers were topological in nature. Around the same time Duncan Haldane found that topological concepts can be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials.

According to the Professor, Skoltech, head of the laboratory of computer design of materials at MIPT, Artyom Oganov, scientific achievement is very useful. He explained that the essence of it is that discovered a new state of matter, a new topological insulators.

“Found materials can be very different areas of application. The new discovery will allow a different perspective on electronic structure of matter. As you know, a topological insulator – it’s such a dielectric material whose surface is covered with metal. They predict a great future application in electronics”, – said the scientist in interview to the newspaper VIEW.

“While their practical application is not implemented. Actually, I believe that the discovery of topological insulators or of substances such as graphene teach us humility. Because research-based are the most usual materials known for millions of years, the same tailored graphite or bismuth, which simply exist in nature. Hard to say when they will be able to find a practical use. Maybe it will be fast, maybe not. You remember the story of the graphene. People are scratching their heads and it invested a lot of money, but the new material is very thin and delicate, so the process is replicated in our lives is unlikely to be quick,” added the Professor.

One of the new Nobel prize winners Duncan Haldane of Princeton University called his discovery accidental. In his words, he “tried to understand and prove that something else is wrong,” reports the TASS.

“As with most other discoveries, we just stumbled up on it. To understand that you have opened, time is necessary. Like everyone else, I was very surprised at their reward. After all, when I started to work on this topic in the late 1980s, I didn’t even think that it will be able to find a use for. Now it’s confirmed, although open is still a great deal,” – said the scientist.

Like his colleagues, Haldane hopes on the practical application of his discoveries in material science and electronics.

The ceremony presented the laureates will be held traditionally on 10 December in Stockholm the day of the death of the founder of the Nobel prize – Swedish entrepreneur and inventor Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). The amount of each of the Nobel prizes in 2016 is 8 million Swedish kronor ($932 thousand US dollars). In the coming days will be announced the winners of the awards and other nominations. So, 5 October laureate in chemistry, 7 October in Oslo will name the peace prize laureate.

Since 1901 the Nobel prize awarded 573 times. Winners were 870 people and 23 organizations. Prize in medicine was awarded 106 times. The youngest winner in 1923 was Frederick Banting (32) for the discovery of insulin, most age – paten Rous (87 years) in 1966 for the discovery of oncogenic viruses.

Domestic physics laureates

Soviet and Russian physics awarded Nobel prize. The first time was in 1958. Then, for the discovery and interpretation of the Cerenkov effect the award was given to scientists Pavel Cherenkov, Ilya Frank and Igor Tamm.

In 1962 for his groundbreaking theory of condensed media, especially liquid helium, the award went to academician Lev Landau, and in 1964 for fundamental work in quantum electronics that led to the creation of generators and amplifiers on the laser-maser principle, it was awarded to Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov.

In 1978 Peter Kapitza was awarded the Nobel prize for his basic inventions and discoveries in the field of low temperature physics. After this award, our scientists have not received more than 20 years.

In 2000, the year Zhores Alferov was awarded a scientific Oscar for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-frequency circuits and optoelectronics.

Three years later he repeated the success of U.S.-Soviet scientist Alexei Abrikosov and Russian Vitaly Ginzburg for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluid liquids.

In 2010, the year for innovative experiments on research of a two-dimensional material – graphene, a Nobel prize was awarded to the natives of Rossiyanka Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, now living and working in the UK.


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