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Allen MacDonald
  • 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics

Intro

American theoretical condensed matter physicist. He was awarded Wolf Prize in Physics in 2020, for his “pioneering theoretical and experimental work on twisted bilayer graphene”.

Education and Work Experience

1973-1978, Ph.D.at University of Toronto
1987-2000, Professor of Physics, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Indiana University, Bloomington
2000-Present, Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair in Physics at University of Texas

Honors and Awards

2007, Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize
2010, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
2012, Ernst Mach Honorary Medal
2020, Wolf Prize in Physics

Major Academic Achievements

MacDonald's area of interest is on how electron-electron interactions affect electronic properties in condensed matter systems. He previously worked on density functional theory and the Quantum Hall effect, and most recently has focused on the Spin Hall effect, magnetic insulators, magnetic semiconductors and spin-orbit interactions. In a 2011 paper he identified the possibility that the tunnelling energy required for electrons to move between two graphene layers should shrink as the angle between the sheets approaches 1.1 degrees from each other, a prediction that was subsequently proven to be true and has inspired investigations into twistronics. At this angle, bilayer graphene exhibits the property of superconductivity, which could lead to more efficient electric power transmission, levitating trains, cheaper medical imaging (MRI), and more powerful quantum computers.