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Press Statement 16-008

Physics Nobel Prize 2016

NSF director congratulates NSF-funded physics Nobel Prize laureates

NSF Director France Córdova

NSF Director France Córdova

October 4, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Statement from National Science Foundation Director France Córdova regarding the news that NSF-funded physicists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz have been named the 2016 Nobel Prize laureates in physics:

Superconductors that may transform how we transport and store energy. Thin magnetic films that improve future electronics. Other new states of matter where electrons in materials organize themselves in unique ways that enable new technologies, from magnetic resonance imaging to quantum computing. These are the breakthroughs at the forefront of condensed matter physics that make today's Nobel Prize such an exciting one.

The concepts that led -- and continue to lead -- to the discovery and understanding of the states of matter are generating breakthroughs at the forefront of materials research that spark advances across many areas of science and engineering. And Thouless, Haldane and Kosterlitz have been leading what many would consider a revolution that begins with the most fundamental research.

The National Science Foundation provided support throughout their careers that focused exclusively on fundamental research. These Nobel Prize laureates have paved the way in showing the importance of ideas that build on topology and how they can lead to new electronic states of matter and open new possibilities in so many fields from (quantum) information technology to communications to medicine. It is this revolution that NSF seeks to foster through its "Quantum Leap," one of NSF's new "Big Ideas." Their research suggests a future with new materials that offer a vast, still-to-be-imagined array of options in many fields.

The world waits with eager anticipation of what we will see and learn about next because of the vision of these trailblazers. Like the rest of the scientific world and beyond, we congratulate these visionaries and others who have made significant contributions along the way. They have led us all in a remarkable new direction.


Media Contacts
Ivy F. Kupec, NSF, (703) 292-8796, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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