The history of spin ice

Steven Bramwell, Mark Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review is a study of how the idea of spin ice has evolved over the years, with a focus on the scientific questions that have come to define the subject. Since our initial discovery of spin ice in 1997, there have been well over five thousand papers that discuss it, and in the face of such detail, it must be difficult for the curious observer to ‘see the wood for the trees’. To help in this task, we go in search of the Biggest Insight to have emerged from the study of spin ice. On the way, we identify highlights and outstanding puzzles, and celebrate the inspirational role that Roger Cowley played in the early years.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020


  • spin ice
  • magnetism
  • vertex models


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