Eugene J. Mele

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Eugene John Mele
CitizenshipUnited States
Known forquantum spin Hall effect
AwardsBreakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2019)
Franklin Medal (2015)
Scientific career
Fieldscondensed matter physics
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania

Eugene John "Gene" Mele is a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he researches quantum electric phenomena in condensed matter.[1]


Mele graduated from Saint Joseph's University in 1972 and obtained a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978. After working as a research assistant at the Xerox Research Center in Webster, New York, he was appointed assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and promoted to full professor in 1989. Since 2014 he has also been visiting faculty at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.


Together with Charles Kane, he predicted the quantum spin Hall effect and coined the term topological insulator for the corresponding structures.[2] The existence of topological insulators has since been experimentally verified, and the prospect of exciting applications for these new materials has stimulated a great deal of research interest.[3]

Honours and awards[edit]

Mele and Kane were awarded the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.[4] They had previously received the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 2015, with Shoucheng Zhang,[5] and the European Physical Society Condensed Matter Division Europhysics Prize in 2010 with Zhang, Hartmut Buhmann, and Laurens Molenkamp.[6] He was elected a member of the American Physical Society in 2001.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kane, Charles L.; Moore, Joel E. (2011). "Topological Insulators" (PDF). Physics World. 24: 32. Retrieved 22 October 2018.


  1. ^ "Eugene Mele". Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  2. ^ Kane, C.L.; Mele, E.J. (25 November 2005). "Quantum Spin Hall Effect in Graphene". Physical Review Letters. 95 (22). p. 226081. arXiv:cond-mat/0411737. Bibcode:2005PhRvL..95v6801K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.95.226801.
  3. ^ Kane & Moore (2011).
  4. ^ "Breakthrough Prize – Winners of the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics Announced". Breakthrough Prize. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Eugene J. Mele". The Franklin Institute. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  6. ^ "EPS Condensed Matter Division Europhysics Prize - Award recipients" (PDF). European Physical Society. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2018.