The Nobel Prize in Physics 1998

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly to Professor Robert B. Laughlin, Professor Horst L. Störmer and Professor Daniel C. Tsui for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations.


Photo: Brigitta Hanggi, Lucent Technologies

Professor Daniel C. Tsui
Princeton University

Photo: Brigitta Hanggi, Lucent Technologies

Professor Horst L. Störmer
Columbia University, N.Y.
and Bell Labs, N.J., USA

Photo: Stanford University

Professor Robert B. Laughlin
Stanford University


For over a hundred years the electron has been one of the most dependable and stable elements of physics; its foundation and workhorse. It has withstood all attempts to split it, has maintained its charge and has nearly always avoided relationships with other electrons. This year’s Nobel laureates’ discovery shows that electrons in powerful magnetic fields can associate with one another. They can behave like a quantum fluid and can act as if they could form new types of particle each bearing but a fraction of the electron’s charge.

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