David J. Thouless

David James Thouless ( born September 21, 1934 in Bearsden, Scotland ) is a Scottish physicist and winner of the Wolf Prize.

Thouless made ​​1955 his bachelor's degree at Cambridge University, received his PhD at Cornell University under Hans Bethe in 1958 and was subsequently 1958/59 as a postdoc at Berkeley, and from 1959 to 1961 at Birmingham University under Rudolf Peierls. 1961 to 1965 he was a lecturer at the University of Cambridge. 1965 to 1978 he was professor of mathematical physics at Birmingham before he was 1979/1980 Professor of Applied Science at Yale University and in 1980 professor of physics at the University of Washington in Seattle. Since 2003 he is a professor emeritus. 1983 to 1985 he was Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Thouless made ​​many important contributions to the theory of condensed matter. During his time in Birmingham he examined the nature of the Kosterlitz - Thouless transition in the XY model, the examples of topological phase transitions ( transitions between two clutter phases, one of which is topological by formation of vortex excitations is generated). He also dealt with the Anderson localization of electrons in disordered systems and spin glasses. From the 1980s he worked, inter alia, to with quantized vortex excitations in superfluids and superconductors and the quantum Hall effect. In the early 1960s he was also involved in collective excitations in atomic nuclei and the theory of nuclear matter.

Thouless is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and since 1995 member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He received the 1973 Maxwell Medal, the 1990 Wolf Prize in Physics, 1993, the Dirac Medal and the 2000 Lars Onsager - price.


  • Quantum mechanics of many particle systems. 1961 German quantum mechanics of many-body systems. BI university paperback, 1961
  • Topological quantum numbers in non relativistic physics. World Scientific 1998
  • With John M. Kosterlitz: Ordering, metastability and phase transitions in two dimensional system. In: Journal of Physics C Volume 6, 1973, p 1181
  • Condensed matter physics in less than three dimensions. In: Davies: The new physics. 1990
  • Introduction to localization. In: Physics Reports. Volume 67, 1980, Les Houches Lectures
  • Topological considerations. In: Prange and Girvin (ed.): The Quantum Hall Effect. Springer 1990