University Of California’s Witherell To Head DOE’s Berkeley Lab


The University of California’s (UC) board of regents has approved Dr. Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara, as the eighth director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

Following a national search, Witherell will replace departing director Dr. Paul Alivisatos.

Since the lab’s founding in 1931, the University of California has managed LBNL on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The institution addresses the world’s urgent scientific challenges: from advancing sustainable energy and protecting human health to revealing the origins and fate of the universe.

Ernest Moniz, U.S. secretary of energy, says, “Mike’s background includes key academic, research and management roles as a leading particle physicist teaching at some of America’s finest universities, former director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and presidential chair in physics at UC Santa Barbara. These experiences will ensure that LBNL continues to advance solutions to pressing scientific and energy challenges under his leadership.

“We look forward to seeing the important innovations LBNL will produce under Mike’s leadership to help realize America’s low-carbon economy and advance scientific frontiers,” he continues.

“I also thank outgoing LBNL director, Dr. Paul Alvisatos, for his excellent service since 2009. As director, Paul continued LBNL’s legacy of advancing research and development for physical, life and computer sciences, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. In addition, Paul was a leader in elevating the department’s strategic relationship with the National Laboratories and in their networked approach to scientific challenges,” Moniz concludes.

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