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Alivisatos named interim director of LBNL

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Paul Alivisatos
Paul Alivisatos

January 23, 2009

Chemistry professor Paul Alivisatos, the Larry and Diane Bock Professor of Nanotechnology, has been named interim director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Alivisatos will replace Steve Chu, former director of the laboratory, who was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Energy on Jan. 21.

Alivisatos was appointed by University of California President Mark G. Yudof. The appointment takes effect immediately, though it is subject to confirmation by the full UC Board of Regents at the board's Feb. 3-5 meeting.

"Paul Alivisatos is a pre-eminent scientist with superb leadership and management experience," Yudof said. "I am confident that he will provide excellent leadership for the Berkeley Laboratory during this transitional period as it continues addressing some of the greatest scientific and energy challenges confronting our country."

Prior to this appointment, Alivisatos was the deputy director of Berkeley Laboratory serving as the lab's chief research officer, overseeing the discretionary research budget, key research initiatives and technology transfer functions. In addition, he assisted the director in developing the overall strategic direction and institutional planning for the laboratory. Alivisatos is a leader of Berkeley Lab's Helios solar research initiative, where he is spearheading ground-breaking research on artificial photosynthesis and photovoltaic technology through the creation of nano-inspired devices.

"Like many others, I have been inspired by Steve Chu's vision of how the work done at Berkeley Lab could overcome some of the most difficult challenges of our time," said Alivisatos. "I share that vision and welcome the opportunity to lead this great national laboratory at such an historic moment."

From 2005 to 2007, prior to being named deputy director of LBL, Alivisatos was associate laboratory director for physical sciences. From 2002 to 2008 he was director of the materials sciences division and from 2001 to 2005 was director of the Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab. Alivisatos has been a chemistry professor at UC Berkeley since 1988, following the completion of his postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Alivisatos is a scientific founder of Quantum Dot Corp. and Nanosys Inc., and a board member of Solexant Inc. Alivisatos is the founding editor of Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

Alivisatos has published widely and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, the Eni Italgas Prize for Energy and Environment, the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics Award, the Wilson Prize, the Coblentz Award for Advances in Molecular Spectroscopy, and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Awards for Sustained Outstanding Research in Materials Chemistry and Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Materials Chemistry. He has held fellowships with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Alivisatos earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry (working with Charles Harris) from UC Berkeley and a bachelor of arts in chemistry from the University of Chicago.

The university expects to announce a national search for a new director in the coming weeks. This search will include the formation of a committee to advise the president of the university on the selection of a new director.

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