2021 Banners ScientificDiscovery

2021 Banners ScientificDiscovery

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the 2021 NAS Award for Scientific Discovery, presented in astronomy, materials science, or physics.

Jarillo-Herrero has contributed greatly to the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology through his discovery of correlated insulator behavior and unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle graphene superlattices.

His findings expand nanoscience by demonstrating for the first time that orientation can be used to dramatically control nanomaterial properties and to design new nanomaterials. In 2018, his research group discovered that by rotating two layers of graphene relative to each other by a magic angle the bilayer material can be turned from a metal into an electrical insulator or even a superconductor. This discovery has fostered new theoretical and experimental research, inspiring the interest of technologists in nanoelectronics. The result is a new field in condensed-matter physics that has the potential to result in materials that conduct electricity without resistance at room temperature. 

Jarillo-Herrero’s research lays the groundwork for developing a whole new family of 2D materials and has had a transformative impact on the field and on condensed-matter physics. He has been recognized with the 2020 Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society and the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics, sometimes considered a forerunner to the Nobel Prize.

The NAS Award for Scientific Discovery is presented every two years to recognize an accomplishment or discovery in basic research, achieved within the previous five years, that is expected to have a significant impact on one or more of the following fields: Astronomy, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, materials science, or physics through the selection of recipients of the Award. A candidate must be a scientist at a university, college, or other research institution within the United States. Endowed in 2014 in honor of John P. Schaefer through a gift from Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) and the Frederick Gardner Cottrell Foundation. This award is presented with a medal, a $50,000 prize, and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research.


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