Physicists Eugene Mele and Charles Kane of the School of Arts and Sciences are being recognized for their innovative work on topological insulators. Kane and Mele have been named winners of the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and will share the $3 million award “for new ideas about topology and symmetry in physics, leading to the prediction of a new class of materials that conduct electricity only on their surface.”
Kane, the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Mele, also Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics, both in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, have long collaborated, sharing ideas and predictions in their field of condensed matter physics. Their theoretical contributions introduced a new class of materials known as topological insulators. These materials have the unique characteristic of being electrical insulators on their interior, but have surfaces that are unavoidably conducting.
more: Penn Today news item on Kane & Mele accepting their award.
related: BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award