A. Paul Alivisatos

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, UC Berkeley
Dept of Chemistry
(510) 642-1961
Research Expertise and Interest
physical chemistry, semiconductor nanocrystals, nanoscience, nanotechnology, artificial photosynthesis, solar energy, renewable energy, sustainable energy
Research Description

A celebrated chemist, accomplished administrator, and longtime member of the Berkeley community, Paul Alivisatos assumed the role of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (EVCP) for the UC Berkeley campus on July 1, 2017. As EVCP, Alivisatos works in close partnership with Chancellor Carol Christ, and plays a critical role in developing and implementing her vision and priorities for the Berkeley campus. He also has responsibility for the planning, development, implementation, assessment, and improvement of all campus academic programs, policies, and supporting infrastructure.

In addition to his role as EVCP, Alivisatos is the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the founding Director of the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute, and Director Emeritus of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), where he remains a senior faculty scientist. He also holds professorships in UC Berkeley’s departments of chemistry and materials science.

After a successful tenure as Director of Berkeley Lab, Alivisatos was appointed to be UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research in March 2016. In that position, he began a review of Berkeley’s research units, institutes, and centers; fostered new faculty connections for interdisciplinary research through the creation of Berkeley Collaborative Research Opportunities; oversaw the search for the dean of the new Division of Data Sciences; and, in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, sponsored a series of fora aimed at assessing and strengthening current opportunities for undergraduate research. He also began an end-to-end review of research funding systems and processes on the campus.

As Director of Berkeley Lab from 2009 to 2016, Alivisatos led the development of new buildings for computational research, design efficiency, solar energy research, and biological sciences. He spearheaded several strategic initiatives including a major push in the realm of energy innovation; an effort to use microbial life to improve clean energy, environment, and health; an early-stage proposal to upgrade the Lab’s Advanced Light Source; and programs to harness the computing and data revolution to greatly advance scientific discovery.

Alivisatos received his Bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1981 from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Berkeley in 1986. He joined the campus as a faculty member in 1988. Alivisatos is a founder of two prominent nanotechnology companies, Nanosys and Quantum Dot Corp, now a part of Thermo Fisher. He is also the founding editor of Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society, and formerly served on the senior editorial board of Science magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Alivisatos has been recognized for his accomplishments with more than 25 awards including the National Medal of Science, the E.O. Lawrence Award, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Dan David Prize, the Von Hippel Award, the Linus Pauling Medal, the Eni Award for Energy and Environment, and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

In the News

May 20, 2016

President Obama awards National Medals to Alivisatos, Hu

President Barack Obama yesterday honored two UC Berkeley faculty members at the White House, awarding chemist Paul Alivisatos with the National Medal of Science and electrical engineer Chenming Hu with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

February 16, 2016

Paul Alivisatos awarded Dan David Prize for nanoscience research

Paul Alivisatos, UC Berkeley’s newly appointed vice chancellor for research and the outgoing director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been awarded the international Dan David Prize for his contributions in the field of nanoscience.

April 17, 2014

Berkeley Lab’s Adam Arkin Wins 2013 Lawrence Award

Arkin has been named one of six recipients of the 2013 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The E.O. Lawrence Award, the DOE’s highest scientific honor, is recognizing Arkin “for his work advancing biological and environmental sciences."

January 7, 2014

President Obama Honors Outstanding Early-Career Scientists

President Obama named 102 researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

October 3, 2013

UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab announce Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute

The Kavli Foundation has endowed a new institute at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to explore the basic science of how to capture and channel energy on the molecular or nanoscale and use this information to discover new ways of generating energy for human use.

April 2, 2013

Campus poised to join Obama’s BRAIN initiative

Three UC Berkeley scientists were among a gathering of the nation’s top scientists at the White House this morning (Tuesday, April 2) as President Barack Obama announced a major national initiative to develop new tools to create real-time traffic maps of the human brain.

January 30, 2012

Bright lights of purity

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered why a promising technique for making quantum dots and nanorods has so far been a disappointment. Better still, they’ve also discovered how to correct the problem.

January 23, 2012

Lab picks Richmond Field Station for a second campus

The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, bursting at the seams of its home next door to UC Berkeley, announced Monday that it has picked the University of California’s bayside Richmond Field Station as the site of its second campus.

January 12, 2012

Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos Wins Wolf Prize in Chemistry

Paul Alivisatos, Berkeley Lab director and UC Berkeley professor, has won the prestigious Wolf Foundation Prize in Chemistry for 2012. Alivisatos is an internationally recognized authority on nanochemistry and a pioneer in the synthesis of semiconductor quantum dots and multi-shaped artificial nanostructures.

July 1, 2011

Breaking Kasha’s Rule

Berkeley Lab researchers created tetrapod molecules of semiconductor nanocrystals and watched them break a fundamental principle of photoluminescence known as “Kasha’s rule.” The discovery holds promise for multi-color light emission technologies, including LEDs.

February 17, 2009

Cheaper materials could be key to low-cost solar cells

Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.