Xie Chen

California Institute of Technology

2020 New Horizons in Physics Prize

For incisive contributions to the understanding of topological states of matter and the relationships between them.


Doing physics is a lot of fun. It is puzzling and frustrating, but that’s what makes it more fun. I am fortunate to have it as my daily work and my career. This is possible only with the constant support and encouragement from my family who believed in me even when I had doubts. I owe my deepest gratitude to my collaborators, my colleagues, and especially my mentors: Xiao-Gang Wen and Isaac Chuang during my PhD years at MIT, and Ashvin Vishwanath when I was a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley. They showed me not only the beauty of science but also the art in pursuing it. I am also fortunate to live at a time and place when women in physics are more accepted and appreciated. This is a luxury not shared by all.

Xie Chen