The Nobel Prize for Physics goes to topology – and mathematicians applaud

David ThoulessDuncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on exotic states of matter. They were inspired by the observation that some materials have unusual electrical properties – and their investigations led them to topology. That’s the branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of geometric objects that don’t change when bent or stretched (though torn would be a different story). As there is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, the topology community is understandably excited by this recognition of the utility of our discipline

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