Bertrand Halperin

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Bert Halperin
Bert Halperin.JPG
Born (1941-12-06) December 6, 1941 (age 79)
Nationality United States
Alma mater Harvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Known for Hexatic phase
Quantum Hall effect
Awards Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1982)
Lars Onsager Prize (2001)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2003)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Harvard University
Doctoral advisor John J. Hopfield
Doctoral students Catherine Kallin

Bertrand I. Halperin (born December 6, 1941) is an American physicist, former holder of the Hollis Chair of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy at the physics department of Harvard University. [1]


Halperin was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up in the Crown Heights neighborhood. His mother was Eva Teplitzky Halperin and his father Morris Halperin. His mother was a college administrator and his father a customs inspector. Both his parents were born in USSR. His paternal grandmother's family the Maximovs claimed descent from Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the BESHT.

He attended Harvard University (class of 1961), and did his graduate work at Berkeley with John J. Hopfield (PhD 1965). [1] After 10 years (1966–1976) working at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey he was appointed Professor of Physics at Harvard University.

In the 1970s, he, together with David R. Nelson, worked out a theory of two-dimensional melting, predicting the hexatic phase before it was experimentally observed by Pindak et al. In the 1980s, he made contributions to the theory of the Quantum Hall Effect and of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect. His recent interests lie in the area of strongly interacting low-dimensional electron systems. [2]

Halperin was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1972 [3] and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1982. [4] In 2001, he was awarded the Lars Onsager Prize. [5] In 2003, he and Anthony J. Leggett were awarded the Wolf Prize in physics. [6] In 2016 he was Lise Meitner Distinguished Lecturer. [7]

In 2018, he was awarded the 2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research, [2] for "his seminal contributions to theoretical condensed matter physics, especially his pioneering work on the role of topology in both classical and quantum systems." [8]

Selected bibliography

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  1. 1 2 "Halperin, Bertrand I." American Institute of Physics . Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  2. 1 2 "2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Bertrand I. Halperin". APS News. 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2019. Among his many honors, Halperin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his APS awards, he received the Dannie Heineman Prize of the Göttingen Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Lars Onsager Lecture and Medal of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Lise Meitner Lecture and Medal, and the Wolf Prize in Physics.
  3. "APS Fellows Archive". APS. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  4. "Bertrand Halperin". NAS Member Directory. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  5. "2001 Lars Onsager Prize Recipient". APS Physics. Retrieved January 7, 2019. For his wide-ranging contributions to statistical physics and quantum fluids, especially the elucidation of the quantum Hall effect and other low-dimensional electronic phenomena; and for his exemplary leadership in bringing theory to bear on the understanding of experiments.
  6. Sa'ar, Relly (January 15, 2003). "Multinational Winners of Wolf Prizes for Mathematics, Physics and Agriculture". Haaretz. Retrieved January 7, 2019. This year's Wolf Prize for physics will be awarded to Professor Bertrand Halperin of Harvard University and Professor Anthony Leggett of Illinois University. The jury said the prize was in recognition of the researchers' contribution to the field of condensed matter theory. Halperin, 61, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been a professor at Harvard since 1976.
  7. "LiseMeitnerLecture".
  8. "2019 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Recipient: Bertrand I. Halperin"
Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Gleason
Hollis Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
Succeeded by
current incumbent