The following two paragraphs are quotes from a fascinating article about how 3 physicists “playing” with math stumbled upon a remarkable and practical finding. The link to the whole article follows the quotes.

“A trio of British-born researchers working in the U.S. won the Nobel Prize in physics for what one of them called a curious mathematical “toy” that to his surprise revolutionized the study of exotic matter suitable for quantum computers, new superconductors, and advanced designer materials.”

” “At the time, I thought it was of scientific interest and mathematical interest, but I didn’t think it would ever find a particular realization,” said Princeton University physicist F. Duncan M. Haldane, who shared the award for theoretical experiments he had conducted in the 1980s. “I basically stumbled on this playing with mathematics.” ”

For the whole article go to:

nobel-prize-in-physics-awarded-to-david-n-haldane-and-michael-kosterlitz-wsj