Princeton University

Weird science: 3 win Nobel for unusual states of matter

How is a doughnut like a coffee cup? The answer helped three British-born scientists win the Nobel prize in physics Tuesday.

Their work could help lead to more powerful computers and improved materials for electronics.

David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, who are now affiliated with universities in the United States, were honored for work in the 1970s and '80s that shed light on strange states of matter.

"Their discoveries have brought about breakthroughs in the theoretical understanding of matter's mysteries and created new perspectives on the development of innovative materials," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.