News and events

29 Apr 2015

Loughborough Professor wins prestigious science award

Professor Eugene Mele, from the Department of Physics, has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, USA.

Professor Mele, who is a visiting professor in the department, was awarded the medal for his collaborative work with Charles Kane and Shoucheng Zhang on the discovery of topological insulators.

Topological insulators are materials which possess properties of several classes of material at the same time. They have many different faces which change depending on environment. From one side, they are insulators and from the other side, they can conduct electrical current like metals or even superconductors. They can behave like ideal conductors, which have no electrical resistance.

The confirmation of topological insulators has the potential to lead to major discoveries in other areas of physics and revolutionise the digital and electronic industries.

In acknowledgment, the award institute said: ‘The work of Eugene Mele, Charles Kane and Shoucheng Zhang serves as an elegant demonstration of how beautiful theories can lead to elegant experiments and ultimately to practical benefits for us all.’

The Franklin Institute is one of America’s most celebrated museums, dedicated to science and technology. Their awards programme, founded in 1824, provides public recognition and encouragement of excellence in science and technology.