Joel E. Moore, Professor of Physics

I am a condensed matter theorist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I am currently a Simons Investigator (2013-) and the Chern-Simons Professor of Physics (2015-).

My research seeks to understand how applying the rules of quantum mechanics to systems of many interacting particles leads to a remarkable variety of emergent phenomena. Some of these phenomena we study because of their potential relevance to real-world problems, including information technology and alternative energy, and some we study simply in order to understand the physical world.

Current interests include topological phases, spin and heat transport, and non-equilibrium coherent dynamics as measured in ultrafast optical experiments and ultracold atomic gases. Most of my papers are available at I am the current supervisor of the Chern-Simons Initiative in Mathematics and Physics.


I regularly teach graduate and undergraduate courses at Berkeley and have taught a number of advanced short courses elsewhere. Some recent courses with online materials: (try replacing cmt with cmt-old as needed)

Physics 212 (second-semester graduate statistical mechanics).

Physics 250 (special topics course on “Geometry and topology in condensed matter physics”). Note: A few copyrighted readings are password-protected on that site but are not central to the course.

I experimented with the knowledge management site for Physics 216 (many-body physics).

Research group

Ph.D. Students: Will Berdanier, Vir Bulchandani, Byungmin Kang, Daniel Parker, Aaron Szasz, Shudan Zhong.

Postdoctoral Researchers and Visitors: See Berkeley Condensed Matter Theory Center for a current listing.

Other activities

I currently serve on the advisory boards of Physical Review B and Advances in Physics. I recently co-chaired the Department of Energy Basic Research Needs report on Quantum Materials. I frequently visit the Aspen Center for Physics and KITP. Two earlier non-technical readings related to my research are a short review for Nature called “The birth of topological insulators” and the chapter on correlated systems in the DOE Grand Challenges report chaired by Graham Fleming and Mark Ratner.