In condensed matter, most theories were developed to understand experimental results that could not be understood using classical physics or the contemporaneous theory. One can think for example of black body radiation, photoelectric effects or superconductivity. But aside from its explanatory power, has condensed matter theories ever predicted a new phenomena? What are some good examples?

If you look at the edits to this question, it was originally about predictions by many-body field theory (low energy) but I decided instead to convert it into a condensed matter one as I got no reactions, however any examples in this domain are also welcome.


1 Answer 1


I think topological insulators and the Josephson effect would be good examples.

The theoretical roots of topological insulators go back to the 1980s, but Kane and Mele's 2005 theory paper on "$Z_2$ topological order and the quantum spin Hall effect" is usually given the most credit for their theoretical discovery. In 2006 Bernevig, Hughes, and Zhang made a specific theoretical prediction that quantum spin Hall insulator states could be realized in HgTe quantum wells, and this was experimentally observed in 2007 by the Molenkamp lab.

The Josephson Effect was predicted by Brian Josephson in 1962, and experimentally observed in 1963 by Phil Anderson and John Rowell.


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