Paul Alivisatos, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of chemistry, and Chenming Hu, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences, have been selected to receive the nation’s top honors in science and technology, the White House announced today.
Alivisatos is among nine chosen to receive the National Medal of Science, while Hu is among eight selected to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Since the National Medal of Science was first awarded in 1959, 35 faculty members – 15 of them still at UC Berkeley – have received the honor. Hu is only the second Berkeley faculty member to win the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which was first awarded in 1985 as the National Medal of Technology.
“Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our Nation’s biggest challenges,” President Obama said in a statement. “The knowledge produced by these Americans today will carry our country’s legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity.”
Hu, who was elected last week to the National Academy of Inventors, is the TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is well-known for innovations, in particular the FinFET (a type of field-effect transistor), that have allowed the semiconductor industry to produce smaller yet more reliable and higher-performing integrated circuits.
Alivisatos, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is the Samsung Distinguished Chair in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Berkeley, a professor in the departments of materials science and chemistry and the director of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute. An award-winning chemist and internationally recognized authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals and their use in solar energy applications, he is the scientific founder of two prominent nanotechnology companies, Nanosys and Quantum Dot Corp, now a part of Life Tech.
The medals will be presented next year during a White House ceremony.