Joel Moore

Joel Moore


Research Area(s): Condensed Matter Physics And Materials Science


Joel Moore joined the physics department faculty as an assistant professor in January 2002. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton University in 1995 and spent a Fulbright year abroad before graduate studies at MIT on a Hertz fellowship. After completing his Ph.D. in 2000, he worked at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB and in theoretical physics research at Bell Labs before coming to Berkeley.  He is currently a Simons Investigator, an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, and holds the Chern-Simons Chair in Mathematical Physics.

Research Interests

I am a theoretical physicist studying condensed matter. My main interest is in the properties of “quantum materials”, in which electron-electron interactions or wavefuntion topology yield new states of matter. The zero-temperature quantum phase transitions between correlated quantum states are an especially beautiful and universal part of this field. Another currently exciting area is understanding how correlated quantum states transport charge, spin, and heat: aside from fundamental interest, this can lead to new devices for spin-based electronics and quantum sensing. We also use concepts from quantum information theory to analyze problems in condensed matter physics. Theoretical work on these problems benefits from an increasing quantity and quality of experimental data, and students in the group are encouraged to interact with experimental efforts at Berkeley and elsewhere.


G. Refael and J. E. Moore, "Entanglement entropy of random quantum critical points in one dimension", Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 260602 (2004).

C. P. Weber, N. Gedik, J. E. Moore, J. W. Orenstein, J. Stephens, and D. D. Awschalom, "Observation of spin Coulomb drag in a two-dimensional electron gas'', Nature 437, 1330 (2005).

E. Fradkin and J. E. Moore, "Entanglement entropy of 2D conformal quantum critical points: hearing the shape of a quantum drum'', Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 050404 (2006).

J. E. Moore and L. Balents, "Topological invariants of time-reversal-invariant band structures'', Phys. Rev. B (Rapid Communcations) 75, 121306 (2007).

A. M. Essin, J. E. Moore, and D. Vanderbilt, “Magnetoelectric Polarizability and Axion Electrodynamics in Crystalline Insulators”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 146805 (2009).

J. E. Moore, “The birth of topological insulators”, Nature 464, 194–198 (2010).


This list is not regularly updated; more recent work is available at