About UC Santa Barbara

UCSB's renowned faculty includes six winners of Nobel Prizes for landmark research in chemistry, physics, and economics.

Nobel Laureates

Shuji Nakamura

Shuji Nakamura

Professor of Materials and of Electrical and Computer Engineering

2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

"For the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources"

Professor Nakamura joined the UCSB faculty in 2000 and was appointed to the Cree Chair in the Solid State Lighting and Display Center in 2001. Known for his technological achievements with semiconducting gallium nitrides, he is widely recognized as the world pioneer in light emitters based on the wide-bandgap semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) and its alloys with aluminum and indium. Before coming to UCSB, Nakamura had worked in research for Japan's Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd, and spent a year at the University of Florida as a visiting research associate. Nakamura earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at Japan’s University of Tokushima. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Millennium Technology Prize (2006). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2003.

Finn E. Kydland

Finn E. Kydland

Professor of Economics

2004 Nobel Prize in Economics

"For contributions to dynamic macroeconomics: the time consistency of economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles"

Professor Kydland joined the UCSB faculty in July, 2004, when he was appointed to the Jeff Henley Chair in Economics. He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned his Ph.D. A native of Norway, he earned his bachelor’s degree at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Kydland won the prize jointly with Edward C. Prescott of Arizona State University, who was a visiting professor at UCSB in winter quarter 2004, when he held the Maxwell and Mary Pellish Chair in Economics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two have made "fundamental contributions of great significance" to macroeconomic research. Kydland has published more than 50 papers, two of which have been cited more than 1,500 times. He is a research associate of the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas, Cleveland, and St. Louis, and has been a visiting professor at universities in six countries. His honors and awards include the John Stauffer National Fellowship in Public Policy from the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He has been a fellow of the Econometric Society since 1992.

David J. Gross

David J. Gross

Former Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

2004 Nobel Prize in Physics

"For the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction"

Professor Gross shared the Nobel Prize for solving the last great remaining problem of what has since come to be called "the Standard Model" of the quantum mechanical picture of reality. He and his co-recipients discovered how the nucleus of an atom works. Professor Gross came to UCSB in January 1997. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. For 31 years he was on the faculty at Princeton University, where he was Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His many honors and awards include the J. J. Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Prize, and France's highest scientific honor, the Grande Médaille D'Or (the Grand Gold Medal. At the Kavli Institute he holds the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics.

Alan J. Heeger

Alan J. Heeger

Professor of Physics and of Materials

2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"For the discovery and development of conductive polymers"

Professor Heeger shared the Nobel Prize for his role in the revolutionary discovery that plastics can have the properties of metals and semiconductors, a finding that created an important new field of research. A member of the UCSB faculty since 1982, Professor Heeger was director of the Institute for Polymers and Organic Solids for 17 years, until 1999. The recipient of many international honors and awards, he is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. In 2003 he was named to a University of California Presidential Chair, an honor reserved for the institution's most distinguished scholars.

Herbert Kroemer

Herbert Kroemer

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Materials

2000 Nobel Prize in Physics

"For developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and opto electronics"

Professor Kroemer, who held the Donald W. Whittier Chair in Electrical Engineering, joined the UCSB faculty in 1976. He is widely known for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and opto-electronics—the pioneering research for which he shared the Nobel Prize. Professor Kroemer received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1952 from the University of Goettingen. He wrote his dissertation on hot-electron effects in the then-new transistor, setting the stage for a career in research on the physics of semiconductors and semiconductor devices. A German citizen, he is a foreign associate of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. In 2001, a German astronomer who had discovered an asteroid had it officially re-named Kroemer in recognition of his countryman's distinguished career.

Walter Kohn

Walter Kohn

Founding director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

Research Professor of Physics

1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"For his development of the density-functional theory"

Professor Kohn is a condensed matter theorist who has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the electronic structure of materials. He played the leading role in the development of the density functional theory, which has revolutionized scientists' approach to the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solid materials in physics, chemistry and materials science. He has also made major contributions to the physics of semiconductors, superconductivity, surface physics and catalysis. Professor Kohn, who joined the UCSB faculty in 1979, was the founding director of what is now known as the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the institute brings leading scientists from across the globe to UCSB to work on major problems in theoretical physics and related fields. In 1994, the building that houses the KITP was named Kohn Hall in his honor. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1988 and the Niels Bohr gold medal from the United Nations in 1998.