The study of many body physics has provided a scientific playground of surprise and continuing revolution over the past half century. The serendipitous discovery of new states and properties of matter, phenomena such as superfluidity, the Meissner, the Kondo and the fractional quantum hall effect, have driven the development of new conceptual frameworks for our understanding about collective behavior, the ramifications of which have spread far beyond the confines of terrestrial condensed matter physics – to cosmology, nuclear and particle physics. Here I shall selectively review some of the developments in this field, from the cold-war period, until the present day. I describe how, with the discovery of new classes of collective order, the unfolding puzzles of high temperature superconductivity and quantum criticality, the prospects for major conceptual discoveries remain as bright today as they were more than half a century ago.
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