Eugene Mele is Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a condensed matter theorist recognized for his work on quantum electronic phenomena in low dimensional forms of matter: surface physics, conducting polymers, graphene and topological states of matter. Mele was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received his B.S. in Physics from Saint Joseph’s University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked in industry as Associate Scientist at the Xerox Webster Research Center before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Mele is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a recipient of the Europhysics Prize of the European Physical Society, the Franklin Medal in Physics, the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences. He has received the Ira Abrams Memorial Award and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for distinguished teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Interests

Eugene Mele is a condensed matter theorist with research interests in the electronic properties of low dimensional forms of matter. His work studies the effects of spatial confinement on the low energy quantum mechanical degrees of freedom and the resulting dependence of electronic behavior on system sizes, shapes, and symmetries. His work has contributed some widely used theoretical models for the low energy phenomenology relevant to transport and optical properties and applied them to solid surfaces and edges, nanostructures, molecular solids and various forms of topological quantum matter. Mele and his collaborators are especially well recognized for the prediction of the quantum spin Hall effect, related work revealing the topological character of semiconducting and semimetallic electronic states of matter and more broadly for applications of quantum geometrical principles to problems in electronic structure theory. Ongoing work by Mele's group is exploring the range of electronic behaviors found in artificial materials formed by stacking atomically-thin two dimensional crystals where subtle modifications to the composition, orientation and curvature of the layers produce a remarkable diversity of electronic behaviors including insulating, magnetic and superconducting electronic states.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics