APS News

August/September 2018 (Volume 27, Number 8)

2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Bertrand I. Halperin

Harvard physicist Bertrand I. Halperin has been selected to receive the 2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research for his “seminal contributions to theoretical condensed matter physics.”

Halperin, 76, is Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy (Emeritus) at Harvard and an APS Fellow. He is winner of the 1982 APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize and the 2001 APS Lars Onsager Prize.

“Bertrand Halperin is a giant in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics,” said APS President-Elect David Gross, chair of the medal selection committee. “His many contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of phase transitions, of low-dimensional quantum phenomena, of the quantum Hall effect, and his pioneering work on the role of topology in both classical and quantum systems have shaped condensed matter theory over the last 40 years, bringing it to bear on the understanding of many experiments.”

The Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is the largest APS prize to recognize researchers from all fields of physics and is funded by a donation from entrepreneur Jay Jones. Previous recipients were Edward Witten (2016), Daniel Kleppner (2017), and Eugene Parker (2018).

“Bert is among our most distinguished APS Members,” said APS Chief Executive Officer Kate Kirby. “It's hard to imagine someone more deserving of the APS flagship honor, the 2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research.”

Bertrand Halperin

Bertrand I. Halperin

Halperin received his A.B. degree from Harvard in 1961, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965. Following a postdoctoral year in Paris, he spent ten years at Bell Laboratories and then joined the Harvard physics faculty in 1976.

While Halperin’s early work centered on the behavior of classical critical systems and properties of systems with frozen disorder, his recent work has focused more on quantum properties of electrons in confined geometries, especially two-dimensional electron systems in a strong magnetic field. Topological aspects of his work include the roles of dislocations and disclinations in two-dimensional melting, of vortices in the superfluid transition, and of edge states, fractional statistics, and emergent gauge fields in quantum Hall systems.

Among his many honors, Halperin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his APS awards, he received the Dannie Heineman Prize of the Göttingen Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Lars Onsager Lecture and Medal of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Lise Meitner Lecture and Medal, and the Wolf Prize in Physics.

The formal award will be made at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2019. In addition, Halperin is invited to give a presentation on his work at the 2019 APS March Meeting in Boston (March 4-8). The Medal is accompanied by a prize of $50,000.

For more on the award visit the APS Medal page.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik

August/September 2018 (Volume 27, Number 8)

Table of Contents

APS News Archives

Contact APS News Editor

Articles in this Issue
2018 APS General Election Results
An Evolving and Leading-edge Journal with a Rich History
Interdisciplinary Excellence
2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Bertrand I. Halperin
Spectra Takes on San Diego Comic-Con
First Group of Fundamental Physics Innovation Awards Announced
Missile-Defense Systems May Risk Space Warfare
American Institute of Physics CEO Michael H. Moloney
Top Undergrads Vie for Apker Award
U.S Physics Team Returns from Lisbon
PhysTEC Announces the 2018 National Teacher of the Year
This Month in Physics History
News from the APS Office of Government Affairs
FYI: Science Policy News from AIP
Education and Diversity News
The Back Page