Weird science: 3 win Nobel for unusual states of matter

The answer helped three British-born scientists win the Nobel prize in physics Tuesday. The prize money, which consists of more than United States $931,000, will be shared by the laureates according to their contribution, with one half being awarded to David Thouless, and the other half presented jointly to Michael Kosterlitz and Duncan Haldane. Haldane, 65, is a physics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. The practical application of the research could aid the further development of Quantum computing.

They investigated odd states of matter like superconductivity, the ability of a material to conduct electricity without resistance.

Thouless was awarded half the prize, with the other half divided between Haldane and Kosterlitz.

The scientists' work is on an abstract mathematical field, dubbed topology, which presents a special way to describe properties of matter. And the important thing with the hole is that although things like taste or shape or deformations can change continuously but the number of holes, what we call the topological variant, can only change like integers.

"The molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to electric trains, washing machines, fans and food processors", the academy said.

For example, in the 1970s, Kosterlitz and Thouless showed that very thin layers of material - essentially containing only two dimensions rather than three - could undergo fundamental changes known as phase transitions.

It is not uncommon for Nobel prizes to be awarded for work done decades previously, to ensure that theories or discoveries stand the test of time. "But then a lady with a Swedish accent was on the line".

"I don't know what to say, I'm a bit shocked", Feringa told reporters in Stockholm by telephone.

"The pioneering research is important as it could be used in the next generation of electronics and superconductors - or even quantum computers", as Nobel Committee member Thors Hans Hansson explained. "Current research is revealing the secrets of matter in the exotic worlds discovered by this year's Nobel Laureates", announced the release.

The Nobel Prizes will be handed out at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.