By Siv Schwink

Illinois Physics Assistant Professor Barry Bradlyn has been selected for a 2020 National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) Award. This award is conferred annually in support of junior faculty who excel in the role of teacher-scholars by integrating outstanding research programs with excellent educational programs. Receipt of this award also reflects great promise for a lifetime of leadership within the recipients’ respective fields.

Bradlyn is a theoretical condensed matter physicist whose work studying the novel quantum properties inherent in topological insulators and topological semimetals has already shed new light on these extraordinary systems. Among his contributions, he developed a real-space formulation of topological band theory, allowing for the prediction of many new topological insulators and semimetals.

Topology is the mathematical concept that quantum properties are conserved even when the shape of a material is contorted or stretched. Over the last decade, physicists have made great strides in understanding the bizarre emergent quantum phenomena in topological materials, including the ability of some classical insulators to carry electrical current without resistance along their edges.

Because topology is robust, it has great potential for new technologies, especially in classical-computing and quantum-computing hardware. But many obstacles to our understanding of topological materials still stand in the way of developing such technologies.

Read more at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.