Berkeley Lab director Mike Witherell has been elected to serve on the leadership council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Witherell’s election to the council was announced Feb. 22 by the NAS, along with a new home secretary and three other new council members. All terms begin July 1, 2023.

The NAS council is the board of directors of the organization and comprises five elected officers and 12 additional members, four of whom are elected each year. Councilors are elected to three-year terms. NAS membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,400 members and 500 international members, of which approximately 190 have received Nobel prizes.

Witherell has served as Berkeley Lab’s Director since 2016. A leading physicist with a distinguished career in teaching, research, and managing complex organizations, he has received numerous honors and recognitions for his scientific contributions and achievements, including the W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics from the American Physical Society in 1990.

Witherell has been an NAS member since 1998. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berkeley Lab is the second national laboratory he has led; he headed Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) from 1999 to 2005.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

# # #

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

Collage of six people laid out three in a row. From top row, left to right: Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Rangachary Mukundan, Howard Padmore. From bottom row, left to right: Kristin Persson, Whendee Silver, and Dan Stamper-Kurn. Four headshots aligned in a row. From left, Gerbrand Ceder, Alessandra Lanzara, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, and Pamela Ronald. Collage with Joel Moore, left, and Joseph W. Orenstein on the right.