Jainendra K. Jain, Evan Pugh University Professor and Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics, has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Election to membership in the academy is one of the highest honors accorded to U.S. scientists by their peers.
Jain is one of three members of Penn State’s faculty being recognized by the academy this year for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, two of which are from the Eberly College of Science. Peter Mészáros, Eberly Chair Professor, emeritus, of Astronomy and Astrophysics, was also elected. This year, the academy elected 120 members and 30 international members to its membership. The total membership in the academy is now 2,461 active members and 511 international members.
“Election to the National Academy of Sciences is among the greatest honors that a scientist can receive, and we are proud to see three outstanding individuals from Penn State earn this recognition,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. “Their dedication to discovery in a world with increasingly complex challenges is admirable. Congratulations to our well-deserving scholars.”
Jain specializes in theoretical condensed matter physics. His work includes theoretical approaches to understanding the unexpected emergent behaviors of strongly interacting quantum many body systems, especially in low dimensions. He is best known for predicting exotic particles known as composite fermions. He introduced and developed the composite fermion theory of the fractional quantum Hall effect and unified the fractional and the integral quantum Hall effects, two remarkable phenomena that occur when electrons in two-dimensions are subjected to a strong magnetic field.
He received a bachelor's degree in physics in 1979 from Maharaja College, Jaipur, India, and his master's in physics in 1981 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. In 1985 he received a doctorate in physics from Stony Brook University. He has published 250 peer-reviewed papers and a monograph, "Composite Fermions" (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and coedited "Fractional Quantum Hall Effects: New Developments (World Scientific, 2020) with B.I. Halperin.
Jain became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. He was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1997, a fellow of John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1996 and a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 1991. In 2010, he received the distinguished alumnus award of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He was a co-recipient of the 2002 Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society, which recognizes outstanding contributions in condensed matter physics.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit organization of scientists dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, which calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.