Nanyang Technological University

Workshop on Topological Phase Transitions and New Developments

(5 to 8 June 2017, Nanyang Executive Centre)


In recent years, ideas from topology, a branch of mathematics dealing with the properties of space that are preserved under continuous deforming such as stretching and bending, have rapidly infiltrated physics and drive both theoretical and experimental efforts into the study of new exotic materials. Topological phase transitions involving vortices that appear at critical temperatures in thin superconductors, superfluids or magnets have provided immense insight into the mechanism of some physical systems. Moreover, these topological properties remain stable even if the system is subject to perturbations. An example of the application of such robustness to perturbations is the search for encoding information in quantum computers, providing the platform for fault-tolerant quantum computation.


In the past three decades, the discovery of topological phases has not only engendered great interest among researchers in condensed matter physics but it has also attracted the interest of researchers working on quantum information, quantum materials and simulations, high energy physics and string theory. This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on various aspects of topological phases and topological phase transitions. It hopes to provide an in-depth exposition in the field of topological phases for students and research fellows working on different aspects of topological phases in various disciplines (condensed matter, photonics, cold atoms, spintronics etc).


We are proud to have two Nobel Laureates of Physics 2016, Professors John Michael Kosterlitz and Duncan Haldane attending this event. They will be appointed as Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors in relation to their visits to NTU.


Professor John Michael Kosterlitz
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2016

 Prof. John Michael Kosterlitz.jpg

Professor John Michael Kosterlitz is a British born Anglo-American physicist. He is the professor of physics at Brown University and the son of biochemist Hans Kosterlitz. He was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics along with David Thouless and Duncan Haldane for their work on condensed matter physics.

Professor Kosterlitz received his bachelor and master degree from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and his Ph.D. from Oxford University. He does research in condensed matter theory, one- and two-dimensional physics; in phase transitions: random systems, electron localization, and spin glasses; and in critical dynamics: melting and freezing. During his time at the University of Birmingham, he collaborated with Professor David Thouless. He has been awarded the Maxwell Medal from the British Institute of Physics, and the Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society both for his work on the Kosterlitz–Thouless transition.

The Kosterlitz Centre at the University of Aberdeen is named in honour of his father, Hans Kosterlitz, a pioneering biochemist specializing in endorphins, who joined the faculty after fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews in 1934.

Professor Duncan Haldane
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2016

 Prof. Duncan Haldane.jpg

Professor Duncan Haldane is a British-born American physicist. He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at the physics department of Princeton University, and a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Thouless and John Michael Kosterlitz. Professor Haldane’s many academic honours and awards include the recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize of the American Physical Society (1993), co-recipient with Charles Kane and Shoucheng Zhang, of the 2012 ICTP Dirac Medal.

Professor Haldane was educated at St Paul's School, London and Christ's College, Cambridge where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree followed by a PhD in 1978 for research supervised by Nobel Laureate Philip Warren Anderson. Professor Haldane is known for a wide variety of fundamental contributions to condensed matter physics including the theory of Luttinger liquids, the theory of one-dimensional spin chains, the theory of fractional quantum hall effect, exclusion statistics, entanglement spectra and much more.


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