The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the award on Tuesday.
The academy is recognizing David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz for their work in topology, an advanced field of mathematics. Topology describes the properties of objects.
该院表彰了戴维·索利斯（David J. Thouless）、邓肯·霍尔丹（F. Duncan Haldane）和迈克尔·科斯特利茨（J. Michael Kosterlitz）在拓扑学这一数学前沿领域的成就。拓扑学阐述对象的性质。
Thouless, aged 82, once taught at the University of Washington, but is now a professor emeritus. Haldane, 65, is a physics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. Kosterlitz, 73, is a physics professor at Brown University in Rhode Island.
The men launched their experiments in the 1970s. The academy said their research projects brought about a new and unexpected understanding of the way solid materials behave. It said they also developed their own mathematical equations to explain the behaviors.
In a statement, the Nobel judges said, "This year's laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter."
The judges said there is hope that topological materials will help create new generations of electronics and superconductors.
Haldane told reporters he was "very surprised and very gratified" to win the award. "A lot of tremendous new discoveries that are based on this original work are now happening."
He added that the discoveries came by accident, which is often the case with science. "You stumble on it and you have the luck to recognize what you've found is something very interesting."
The Associated Press spoke by telephone with Kosterlitz, who was in Finland. He said he was "a little bit dazzled" and "still trying to take it in."
The Nobel Prize for Physics comes with a monetary prize of $930,000, which is split among the winners. The Nobel laureates will also collect a medal and diploma at an award ceremony on December 10.
The first Nobel Prize of this year – for Physiology or Medicine - was announced Monday. That award went to Japanese scientist Yushinori Ohsumi for experiments related to baker's yeast.
Other Nobel prizes will be announced this week and next week.