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A bagel, a pretzel and a cinnamon bun can best explain the Nobel Prize for physics

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Three British scientists won the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work on materials that could be essential in new electronics or even quantum computers.

David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz's field is technically called "topology," the study of properties of objects that aren't changed when objects are distorted.

It sounds complicated, which is why a member of the Nobel committee explained it with a bagel, a pretzel and a cinnamon bun.

 In the words of the Nobel committee member, the difference between the pastries, to a topologist, is the number of holes in each pastry.

If it sounds weird, it's because it is. But experts say it could be huge down the road.

You never set out to discover something new. You stumble on it and you have the luck to recognize what you've found is something very interesting.
Duncan Haldane

Haldane, one of the winners, said he was "very surprised and very gratified" by the award, and said he and his colleagues found the winning discovery almost by dumb luck.

Haldane, Thouless and Kosterlitz's work was done in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Nobel committee tried to explain the science with this diagram.

More Nobel Prizes on the way!

The Nobel Prize in medicine was announced Monday. The prize for chemistry will be announced Wednesday, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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