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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
Professor David Thouless 1934-2019

The Department is very sorry to announce the death of Professor David Thouless FRS, who  passed away on 6th April 2019

David Thouless moved from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in Cambridge to take up a lectureship in the Solid State Theory group (the early incarnation of the current TCM group) from 1964-65 before moving to the University of Birmingham where he remained on the faculty for many years. In the mid 80s, David returned to the Cavendish as a Royal Society Research Professor, moving soon after to the University of Washington, Seattle. He was a frequent Summer visitor, and a colleague and friend to members of TCM and the Cavendish.

David made a series of extraordinary contributions to the theoretical understanding of phases of matter, in both classical and quantum regimes.

Most notable, perhaps, were his "theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter" for which he was awarded one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016, the other half awarded to F Duncan Haldane and J Michael Kosterlitz.