Nobel laureate Haldane visiting Slovenia again

Ljubljana, 4 December - Duncan Haldane, a physics Nobel Prize laureate of Slovenian roots, is in Slovenia these days after already visiting the country in March. He received today an honorary doctorate from the University of Ljubljana, while on Wednesday he will speak about modern challenges in physics at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

Haldane received the high-level academic recognition at a special session of the senate of the University of Ljubljana, the main event of the University Week, at which several other awards and recognitions were handed out.

He addressed the session and looked back at his Slovenian roots, speaking about his parents and saying he was proud to share his roots with such an exceptional physicist as Jožef Stefan (1835-1893).

Haldane was born in 1951 to a doctor in the British army stationed on the border between Yugoslavia and Austria and Ljudmila Renko, a Slovenian medicine student who married him and move to England with him.

In 2016, Haldane was the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter along with David J. Thouless and John Michael Kosterlitz.

Haldane told the session that a Nobel Prize was a result of unexpected discoveries, which meant that luck was an important component. Everybody who works in science and research has potential to discover something worthy of the prize, he added.

The professor of physics at Princeton University said it was natural and desired for young students from a small country like Slovenia to continue their studies abroad, adding that excellence in the local environment should be maintained by encouraging some of them to come back and form research groups.

On Wednesday, Haldane will speak at the Ljubljana faculty of Mathematics and Physics, with the lecture followed by a presentation of the Haldane equation, used in substrate inhibition kinetics and biodegradation of inhibitory substrates.

The British-American physicist, who studies gases, liquids and solids as well as unusual quantum materials, visited Slovenia in 2000 to take part in an expert conference in Bled, and in March this year to speak about quantum mechanics at the Jožef Stefan Institute.