Professor Kosterlitz received a BA,and an MA,at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He earned a D.Phil. from theOxford University as a postgraduate student of Brasenose College, Oxford. During his time at the University of Birmingham,he collaborated with David Thouless, and a postdoctoral student at Cornell University. He was appointed to the faculty of the University of Birmingham in 1974, first as a lecturer and, later, as a reader. Since 1982, he has been professor of physics at Brown University. Kosterlitz does research in condensed matter theory, one- and two-dimensional physics, in phase transitions: random systems, electron localization, and spin glasses and in critical dynamics: melting and freezing. He has been awarded the Maxwell Medal from the British Institute of Physics, and the Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society both for his work on the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition. He was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016 shared with David Thouless and Duncan Haldane for work on the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition. In 2017 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

J. Michael Kosterlitz is interested in the problem of state selection in driven out of equilibrium systems such as directional solidification and eutectic growth. He has collaborated with the Helsinki group using phase field modeling to study problems in material science. Most recently he has applied phase field methods to crystalline solid. He is working on wavelength selection in driven out of equilibrium systems. This phenomenon seems to occur in various experimental systems but a convincing theoretical explanation or understanding is lacking. The approach to the unique equilibrium distribution can be understood theoretically but driven out of equilibrium systems do not seem to be amenable to similar treatment.

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Section 13: Physics