(Originally published by the University of California, Santa Barbara)
July 15, 2009
John E. Bowers, a pioneering professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara and director of the campus's Institute for Energy Efficiency, is the first scholar appointed to the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology.
Bowers is recognized as an international leader in the development of novel optoelectronic devices for the next generation of optical networks.
The endowed professorship was established with a gift from Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-born physicist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who is dedicated to supporting scientific research and initiatives that have a positive, long-term impact on the human condition. Kavli is a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation and a generous campus benefactor.
"I am delighted that John is our Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology," said Kavli. "He is an exceptional and accomplished scientist whose research and career –– including serving as the first director of UCSB's Institute for Energy Efficiency –– demonstrate a commitment to science and solving our important issues. I look forward to him continuing this pursuit, not only as a member of the UCSB faculty, but as part of our Kavli community of researchers who share his commitment."
Endowed chairs are highly prized academic positions that honor academic excellence. They enable a university to attract and retain distinguished scholars and to develop more fully a field of study by providing ongoing financial support for enhanced research and teaching.
"The Kavli Chair will allow me to pursue the more speculative ideas in nanotechnology, such as developing nanostructured materials for better thermoelectrics than are found in nature," said Bowers. Noting the international recognition given to the Kavli Foundation and the Kavli Institute because of its support for science worldwide, Bowers said, "I am honored to receive the Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology."
UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang described Bowers as "an admired professor, visionary researcher, and internationally renowned innovator in high-speed optoelectronics and silicon photonics. UC Santa Barbara is immensely grateful to Fred Kavli for this endowed chair in nanotechnology, which will support Professor Bowers' groundbreaking research. Fred is an international visionary and giant in advancing scientific research and a great friend to our campus."
Bowers earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University and joined the UCSB faculty in 1987 after working for AT&T Bell Laboratories and Honeywell. He is head of the campus's Institute for Energy Efficiency, which brings together 50 researchers with related expertise to develop new energy-saving technologies. The institute was recently awarded a $19 million federal grant to establish a new Center on Materials for Energy Efficiency Applications.
A prolific scientist, Bowers is the author of more than 450 journal articles and holds 52 patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the American Physical Society. His numerous awards include the IEEE's Photonics Society William Streifer Award and the OSA Holonyak Prize. In addition, Bowers and his co-workers received the ACE Award for Most Promising Technology for the hybrid silicon laser.
In addition to his personal philanthropy, Fred Kavli established the Kavli Foundation. Based in Oxnard, the Kavli Foundation is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work. The foundation's mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. Kavli serves as foundation chair.
At UC Santa Barbara, Kavli has endowed two chairs in engineering, including the professorship in nanotechnology, which was established in 2000 with a $500,000 gift. Previously, the endowment supported the activities of a scholar in the area of microelectromechanical systems technology. In 2002, the Kavli Foundation provided landmark grants to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), which is named in his honor. Today, UCSB's institute is one of 15 Kavli institutes worldwide dedicated to advancing fundamental research in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and theoretical physics.