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Honorary Doctor of the University of Ljubljana and Nobel laureate F. Duncan M. Haldane became a Slovenian

F. Duncan M. Haldane at the solemn session of the University of Ljubljana Senate where he was awarded the Honorary Doctor title.

Photo: Foto Studio NORA d. o. o.

Publish Date: 25.03.2019

Category: Researchers in focus

Nobel laureate for physics and honorary doctor of the University of Ljubljana F. Duncan M. Haldane solemnly swore as a Slovenian citizen at the Slovenian Embassy in Washington. Haldane was born in London; his father was a Scotsman, and his mother Ljudmila Renko was Carinthian Slovene.

Professor F. Duncan M. Haldane is connected to Slovenia through his family bond in addition to his professional connections. He visited Slovenia in 2000 as an invited speaker at a Bled conference organised by the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Ljubljana University and by the Jozef Stefan Institute. In 2018 the University of Ljubljana awarded him the Honorary Doctor title. On this occasion he addressed the University of Ljubljana Senate: “On my mother’s side I am Slovenian, and I have always identified as half Slovenian and half Scot. I am therefore honoured that the biggest university in Slovenia has awarded me this title.” He concluded his address with words of thanks in Slovenian.

Professor Haldane gained his PhD in physics at Cambridge University in 1978. He then worked at the Laue-Langevin Institute in Grenoble, France, before moving to the US in 1981, where he has held the position of Professor of Physics at Princeton University since 1990.

The pioneering research of Professor Haldane is devoted to the study of quantum properties of matter at low temperatures. Prior to his contributions to the field, these systems were thought to be well investigated, with little room for improvement of our understanding. In 1983, however, Professor Haldane discovered theoretically unexpected topological properties of magnetic chains and, in 1988, developed the first theoretical model of what are called topological materials. In doing so, he set up the foundations for one of the research areas of condensed matter physics that is currently most active, particularly since the discovery of topological insulators. The visionary work of Professor Haldane was recognised by the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he received jointly with David J. Thouless and John M. Kosterlitz in 2016, "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

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