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Nobel Prize Medal Donated To Cambridge University

A Nobel Prize medal won by a professor has been donated to his former Cambridge University college by his family.

The medal has been donated to Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge

Prof David Thouless, who studied at Trinity Hall, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016, but died in 2019.

Trinity Hall
Master Mary Hockaday shows Helen Thouless the display of her father’s Nobel Prize

His family said they wanted it to be on display at the college because of “the influence that Trinity Hall had on his life.”


The college’s senior tutor, Michael Sutherland, said: “We hope that this generous gift inspires future generations of Trinity Hall physicists.”

Prof Thouless won the Nobel Prize “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”

In 2016 the Physics Prize was awarded to three British-born scientists for discoveries about strange forms of matter.

David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz shared the £727,000 prize.

The honour came more than 60 years after the professor completed his undergraduate degree at Trinity Hall.

His wife Margaret and members of his family donated his medal and diploma to the college on Thursday.

The college said they would be “displayed for future generations of scholars to draw inspiration from.”

Prof David Thouless was made an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall in 2014.

Prof Thouless had worked in a number of academic institutions including Cambridge, Yale and, finally, the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Speaking on Thursday night, Dr Helen Thouless said her father had very much enjoyed his time at Trinity Hall where he had made lifelong friendships.

She added the family wanted the Prize to be shared and displayed and the college seemed the perfect place to do this.

“Thinking about the friends he made and the influence that Trinity Hall had on his life, this is why we wanted to donate it to [them],” she said.

College Master, Mary Hockaday, said: “We are enormously grateful to Margaret Thouless and her family for giving us David’s medal.

“Trinity Hall is proud to have played its part in setting him on his path and we are honoured to be able to display the medal as a wonderful inspiration to our students today.” [BBC]

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