Faculty and Alumni

Making waves. It’s happening not only on the beach just below our campus; UC Santa Barbara itself is making waves, and our distinguished faculty and impressive alumni get a big chunk of the credit. From tech pioneers to Oscar winners, preeminent scientists to revered musicians, UCSB faculty and alumni are playing on some of the world’s biggest professional stages and bringing down the proverbial house. Did we mention six Nobel Prizes?

Nobel Laureates

Faculty and Alumni

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 of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Materials

2000 Nobel Prize in Physics
"For developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and optoelectronics"

Professor of Physics and of Materials

2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
"For the discovery and development of conductive polymers"

Chancellor’s Chair in Theoretical Physics, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
"For the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction"

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 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"

Some Notable UC Santa Barbara Alumni

Steve Aoki


DJ, Musician, Producer, Grammy Nominee

Amir Abo-Shaer

‘96, M.S. ‘98, M. Ed. ‘01

Mechanical Engineer, Teacher, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award Winner

Robert Ballard


Deep-Sea Explorer, Discoverer of the Titanic

Angela Belcher

‘91, Ph.D. ‘97

Materials Scientist, Professor, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award Winner

Lois Capps

‘90 M.A.

U.S. Congresswoman

Salud Carbajal


U.S. Congressman

Leroy Chiao

‘85, Ph.D. ‘87

Space Shuttle Astronaut

Larry Dierker


MLB Player, Manager

Michael Douglas


Academy Award-Winning Actor and Producer

Harris Faulkner


TV Journalist

Raymond Fisher


Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Scott Frank


Director, Songwriter, Filmmaker

Elizabeth Gabler


President of Fox 2000 Pictures

Logan Green


Co-Founder and CEO of Lyft

Carol Greider


Professor, Johns Hopkins University
2009 Nobel Prize Winner

Jeff Henley


Vice Chairman, Oracle Corporation

Carin Jennings-Gabarra


Retired U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Player

Jack Johnson


Singer, Songwriter, Filmmaker

Paula Kaatz


Emmy-Winning Costume Designer

Ken Khachigan


Political Consultant, Speechwriter, Attorney

Jason Lezak

2004 & 2008 Olympic Gold

Medal Winner, Swimming

Barbara Nwaba


Olympian, 2015 US Heptathlon Champion

Giandomenico Picco

‘72 M.A.

Diplomat, Author, U.N. Official

Chris Pontius


MLS Soccer Player

Jim Rome


Sports Radio/Television Talk Show Host

Eric Roth


Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter

Patricia L. Scarlet

‘70, M.A. ‘73

Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

Richard Serra



Brian Shaw


NBA Player, Coach

Bob Sipchen


Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Nick Swinmurn


Founder of Zappos.com

Charissa Thompson


Television Host, Sportscaster

Katy Tur


Author, Broadcast Journalist

Alan “ Big Al” Williams


NBA Player

Dawn Wright

‘94 Ph.D.

Geographer, Oceanographer, Professor

Don Wood


Children’s Book Illustrator


For more information about our alumni community, please visit the UC Santa Barbara Alumni website.