This year, the Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded collectively to three British scientists, who with their groundbreaking research on exotic states of matter may have ushered in a new era in quantum computing and related technologies. The three winners — David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz will collectively share the prize amount of SEK 8 million (approx Rs 6.2 crore) given away by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.
65-year-old Duncan, a professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, shared his story at a crowded press conference organised in the city. He told reporters how he woke up to a call from Sweden and felt "gratified" on winning the Nobel Prize in Physics this year. However, instead of doing anything unusual on the biggest day of his life, he got dressed and went to his class to teach his students electromagnetism.
"Well, of course. It's a matter of duty or pride to go back and do one's job," Duncan told NJ. The Princeton professor was greeted with applause by his students when he walked into the classroom. Duncan felt that he owed it to his students, as the future will be paved by them. "Any one of them could discover something tremendous and new and win a Nobel Prize," he added.
“You never set out to discover something new. You stumble upon it and you have the luck to recognise that what you’ve found is something very interesting,” the modest professor told The Guardian.
Duncan, along with David and Michael, did his pioneering work on matter's behaviour under extreme conditions during the 1970s and 1980s. The impact of their research is now being felt as more and more scientists and researchers are using their findings to pave the way for development of new materials for electronics, superconductors, and quantum computers.