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The winding road to topological insulators

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This talk surveys the classification of electric states of matter with a focus on the unique properties of topological insulators and their discovery from a careful consideration of the low energy properties of single layer graphene. The topological band theoretic classification of insulating states in two and three dimensions and experimental realizations are briefly discussed.

Biographical Sketch

Eugene Mele is Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a condensed matter theorist who specializes in electronic phenomena in low dimensional systems, including conducting polymers, crystal surfaces, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, graphenes and topological insulators. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978). He was an Associate Scientist at Xerox Webster Research Center (1978-1981) before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania (1981) where he has been a Full Professor since 1988. Significant honors include the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and two teaching awards for distinguished teaching at Penn: the Ira Abrams award (highest teaching award in the School of Arts and Sciences) and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation award (highest teaching award in the University). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2010 he shared the Europhysics Prize of the European Physical Society for the discovery of topological insulators. He was awarded a UK Leverhulme Visiting Professorship (2014).

This talk is part of the Theory of Condensed Matter series.

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