Timeline of states of matter and phase transitions

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This is a timeline of states of matter and phase transitions, specifically discoveries related to either of these topics.



19th century

20th century

21st century

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Condensed matter physics</span> Branch of physics

Condensed matter physics is the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of matter, especially the solid and liquid phases that arise from electromagnetic forces between atoms and electrons. More generally, the subject deals with condensed phases of matter: systems of many constituents with strong interactions among them. More exotic condensed phases include the superconducting phase exhibited by certain materials at extremely low cryogenic temperatures, the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases of spins on crystal lattices of atoms, the Bose–Einstein condensates found in ultracold atomic systems, and liquid crystals. Condensed matter physicists seek to understand the behavior of these phases by experiments to measure various material properties, and by applying the physical laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, and other physics theories to develop mathematical models and predict the properties of extremely large groups of atoms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superconductivity</span> Electrical conductivity with exactly zero resistance

Superconductivity is a set of physical properties observed in certain materials where electrical resistance vanishes and magnetic fields are expelled from the material. Any material exhibiting these properties is a superconductor. Unlike an ordinary metallic conductor, whose resistance decreases gradually as its temperature is lowered, even down to near absolute zero, a superconductor has a characteristic critical temperature below which the resistance drops abruptly to zero. An electric current through a loop of superconducting wire can persist indefinitely with no power source.

Superfluid helium-4 is the superfluid form of helium-4, an isotope of the element helium. A superfluid is a state of matter in which matter behaves like a fluid with zero viscosity. The substance, which looks like a normal liquid, flows without friction past any surface, which allows it to continue to circulate over obstructions and through pores in containers which hold it, subject only to its own inertia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">State of matter</span> Distinct forms that matter take on

In physics, a state of matter is one of the distinct forms in which matter can exist. Four states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Many intermediate states are known to exist, such as liquid crystal, and some states only exist under extreme conditions, such as Bose–Einstein condensates and Fermionic condensates, neutron-degenerate matter, and quark–gluon plasma. For a list of exotic states of matter, see the article List of states of matter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lev Landau</span> Soviet theoretical physicist (1908–1968)

Lev Davidovich Landau was a Soviet physicist who made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. He was also involved in the design of the Soviet atomic bomb.

In condensed matter physics, a quasiparticle is a concept used to describe a collective behavior of a group of particles that can be treated as if they were a single particle. Formally, quasiparticles and collective excitations are closely related phenomena that arise when a microscopically complicated system such as a solid behaves as if it contained different weakly interacting particles in vacuum.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hagen Kleinert</span> German physicist

Hagen Kleinert is professor of theoretical physics at the Free University of Berlin, Germany , Honorary Doctor at the West University of Timișoara, and at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University in Bishkek. He is also Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Creative Endeavors. For his contributions to particle and solid-state physics he was awarded the Max Born Prize 2008 with Medal. His contribution to the memorial volume celebrating the 100th birthday of Lev Davidovich Landau earned him the Majorana Prize 2008 with Medal. He is married to Dr. Annemarie Kleinert since 1974 with whom he has a son Michael Kleinert.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of superconductivity</span>

Superconductivity is the phenomenon of certain materials exhibiting zero electrical resistance and the expulsion of magnetic fields below a characteristic temperature. The history of superconductivity began with Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes's discovery of superconductivity in mercury in 1911. Since then, many other superconducting materials have been discovered and the theory of superconductivity has been developed. These subjects remain active areas of study in the field of condensed matter physics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Topological order</span> Type of order at absolute zero

In physics, topological order is a kind of order in the zero-temperature phase of matter. Macroscopically, topological order is defined and described by robust ground state degeneracy and quantized non-Abelian geometric phases of degenerate ground states. Microscopically, topological orders correspond to patterns of long-range quantum entanglement. States with different topological orders cannot change into each other without a phase transition.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Type-II superconductor</span> Superconductor characterized by the formation of magnetic vortices in an applied magnetic field

In superconductivity, a type-II superconductor is a superconductor that exhibits an intermediate phase of mixed ordinary and superconducting properties at intermediate temperature and fields above the superconducting phases. It also features the formation of magnetic field vortices with an applied external magnetic field. This occurs above a certain critical field strength Hc1. The vortex density increases with increasing field strength. At a higher critical field Hc2, superconductivity is destroyed. Type-II superconductors do not exhibit a complete Meissner effect.

This timeline lists significant discoveries in physics and the laws of nature, including experimental discoveries, theoretical proposals that were confirmed experimentally, and theories that have significantly influenced current thinking in modern physics. Such discoveries are often a multi-step, multi-person process. Multiple discovery sometimes occurs when multiple research groups discover the same phenomenon at about the same time, and scientific priority is often disputed. The listings below include some of the most significant people and ideas by date of publication or experiment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anatoly Larkin</span> Russian physicist (1932–2005)

Anatoly Ivanovich Larkin was a Russian theoretical physicist, universally recognised as a leader in theory of condensed matter, and who was also a celebrated teacher of several generations of theorists.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Subir Sachdev</span> Indian physicist

Subir Sachdev is Herchel Smith Professor of Physics at Harvard University specializing in condensed matter. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2014, received the Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society and the Dirac Medal from the ICTP in 2018, and was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society ForMemRS in 2023. He was a co-editor of the Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics 2017–2019, and is Editor-in-Chief of Reports on Progress in Physics 2022-.

<i>BCS: 50 Years</i> Book by Leon Cooper

BCS: 50 Years is a review volume edited by Leon Cooper, a 1972 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and Dmitri Feldman of Brown University, first published in 2010.

Macroscopic quantum phenomena are processes showing quantum behavior at the macroscopic scale, rather than at the atomic scale where quantum effects are prevalent. The best-known examples of macroscopic quantum phenomena are superfluidity and superconductivity; other examples include the quantum Hall effect and topological order. Since 2000 there has been extensive experimental work on quantum gases, particularly Bose–Einstein condensates.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superfluidity</span> Fluid which flows without losing kinetic energy

Superfluidity is the characteristic property of a fluid with zero viscosity which therefore flows without any loss of kinetic energy. When stirred, a superfluid forms vortices that continue to rotate indefinitely. Superfluidity occurs in two isotopes of helium when they are liquefied by cooling to cryogenic temperatures. It is also a property of various other exotic states of matter theorized to exist in astrophysics, high-energy physics, and theories of quantum gravity. The theory of superfluidity was developed by Soviet theoretical physicists Lev Landau and Isaak Khalatnikov.

William P. Halperin is a Canadian-American physicist, academic, and researcher. He is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Physics at Northwestern University.

This article lists the main historical events in the history of condensed matter physics. This branch of physics focuses on understanding and studying the physical properties and transitions between phases of matter. Condensed matter refers to materials where particles are closely packed together or under interaction, such as solids and liquids. This field explores a wide range of phenomena, including the electronic, magnetic, thermal, and mechanical properties of matter.


  1. "New State of Matter created at CERN". CERN. Retrieved 22 May 2020.