Jainendra K. Jain, the Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics at Penn State University, has been named an Evan Pugh Professor, which is the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty. The Evan Pugh Professorships, named for Penn State's first president, are awarded to faculty members who are acknowledged pioneers in their fields of research or creative activity; have demonstrated significant leadership in raising the standards of the University with respect to teaching, research or creativity, and service; and have demonstrated excellent teaching skills with undergraduate and graduate students who have subsequently achieved distinction in their fields.
A faculty member in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State, Jain is a theoretical physicist who is interested in unexpected reorganizations that occur when a large number of particles interact. He is best known for work leading to the discovery of exotic particles called composite fermions, which Jain had postulated to explain the fractional quantum Hall effect, one of the most remarkable quantum states of matter. For this work, Jain was a co-recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 2002, awarded by the American Physical Society for "establishing the composite-fermion model for the half-filled Landau level and other quantized Hall systems." This prize is the highest in the United States in the field of condensed-matter physics.
Jain has received Fellowships from the American Physical Society, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. He received the Distinguished Postdoctoral Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland in 2004, the ACIPA Distinguished Scholar Prize of the Indian Physics Association in 2008, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 2010. He is a co-author of more than 150 scholarly articles and the author of a monograph titled "Composite Fermions." He has delivered more than 200 invited lectures at universities and international conferences.
Jain earned his bachelor's degree at Maharaja College in Jaipur, India, in 1979; his master's degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1981; and his doctoral degree at Stony Brook University in 1985. Subsequent to postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland and Yale University, he returned in 1989 to his alma mater Stony Brook University as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and to professor in 1997. He joined Penn State in the fall of 1998 as Penn State's first Erwin W. Mueller professor of physics.