The University of California Board of Regents today (Jan. 21) approved Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara, as director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Mike Witherell 1_16 06Witherell is a leading physicist with a highly distinguished career in teaching, research and managing complex organizations. He has received numerous honors and recognitions for his scientific contributions and achievements. Witherell is the former director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in northern Illinois and currently holds the Presidential Chair in Physics at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).

“Michael Witherell is a proven leader with exceptional scientific credentials,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “The attributes and experience he brings to us will enable the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to continue to thrive as one of the world’s premier labs.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is an internationally renowned institution dedicated to addressing the world’s most urgent scientific challenges, from advancing sustainable energy and protecting human health to revealing the origins and fate of the universe. As the original home of “team science,” which emphasizes interdisciplinary research in the public interest, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California has managed the lab on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since its founding in 1931.

Following a national search and acting on the recommendation of Napolitano, with the concurrence of U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the Board of Regents approved Witherell’s appointment as the eighth director of the Berkeley Lab. Witherell begins March 1 and will replace departing Director Paul Alivisatos.

“It has been my distinct pleasure to serve as Berkeley Lab’s director,” said Alivisatos. “The dedicated scientists working at the lab are changing the world for the better, and I’m thankful to have been part of that. I know that Michael Witherell is the right person to take the lab into its next phase of scientific discovery.”

To read the full UC release, go here.

To read a statement by US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on the appointment, go here.