University of California President Appointes Paul Alivisatos Interim Director of Berkeley Laboratory

Published on January 27, 2009 at 1:11 AM

University of California President Mark G. Yudof today (Jan. 22) appointed Paul Alivisatos interim director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is managed by the university. Alivisatos will replace Steve Chu, former director of the laboratory, who was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Energy on Jan. 21.

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 member of the faculty at UC Berkeley since 1988, following the completion of his postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He is currently the Larry and Diane Bock Professor of Nanotechnology and a professor in the departments of materials science and chemistry.

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 holds a Ph.D. in chemical physics from UC Berkeley and a bachelor of arts in chemistry from the University of Chicago.

The appointment of Alivisatos was made by President Yudof consistent with UC policy, following consultation with the Department of Energy, Regents' Chairman Richard C. Blum and DOE Lab Oversight Committee Chair Norman Pattiz. Compensation for Alivisatos was approved by interim action of Regents' Compensation Committee Chair Bruce Varner. Both the appointment and compensation are subject to final confirmation by the Board of Regents at its February meeting.

Alivisatos as interim director is proposed to receive an annual salary of $406,980, representing a 14 percent administrative stipend above his current salary of $357,000. (UC Regents approved Alivisatos' current salary of $357,000 and DOE has approved reimbursement of $338,000; the unreimbursed amount will be paid from the fee earned under the contract.) Per university policy, he will receive an annual automobile allowance of $8,916. Per policy, Alivisatos is eligible for participation in the UC Mortgage Origination Program. Alivisatos also will receive standard pension and health and welfare benefits and standard senior management benefits, including senior manager life insurance, executive business travel insurance, executive salary continuation for disability, and an administrative fund for official entertainment and other purposes that comply with university policy. As a member of the UC tenured faculty in a senior management position, Alivisatos is eligible to accrue sabbatical credits.

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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