© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud
F. Duncan M. Haldane
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016
Born: 14 September 1951, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
Prize motivation: "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."
Prize share: 1/4
Duncan Haldane was born in London, Great Britain. After attending St Paul's School in London he studied at Cambridge University, where he received a PhD in 1978. His supervisor was the future Nobel Laureate Philip Anderson. Duncan Haldane has worked at Institut Laue–Langevin in Grenoble, France, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey, the University of California San Diego, and, since 1990, at Princeton University, New Jersey. Duncan Haldane is married to Odile Belmont.
Matter occurs in different phases, for example as a gas, liquid or solid. At very low temperatures unusual phases may occur, for example superconductivity and unusual types of magnetism. To describe these phases and phase transitions Duncan Haldane used the concepts of topology, a branch of mathematics. For example, during the 1980s, he explained magnetic properties of chains of atoms in certain materials. In the future, these results may contribute to the development of new materials and electronic components.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.