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The prediction of anyons: Its history and wider implications

Gerald A. Goldin

SciPost Phys. Proc. 14, 005 (2023) · published 23 November 2023

Proceedings event

34th International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics


Prediction of "anyons," often attributed exclusively to Wilczek, came first from Leinaas and Myrheim in 1977, and independently from Goldin, Menikoff, and Sharp in 1980-81. In 2020, experimentalists successfully created anyonic excitations. This paper discusses why the possibility of quantum particles in two-dimensional space with intermediate exchange statistics eluded physicists for so long after bosons and fermions were understood. The history suggests ideas for the preparation of future researchers. I conclude by addressing failures to attribute scientific achievements accurately, both inadvertent and intentional. Such practices disproportionately hurt women and minorities in physics.

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