Awschalom was among the 72 new members and 18 foreign associates elected today during the business session of the 144th annual meeting of the academy.
The National Academy of Sciences is the country's most prestigious scientific organization, and election to membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,025.
The election of Awschalom brings to a total of 26 the number of current UCSB faculty members who have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
"Being elected to the NAS is a prized distinction, one that reflects the highest regard of one's peers in the scientific community," noted UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Professor Awschalom's brilliant work and trail-blazing spirit have led to extraordinary achievements, and we proudly salute him."
Said Awschalom: "I am honored to be associated with such an esteemed group of scientists, and view this election as a reflection of the remarkable students and collaborators with whom I've been working with over the years."
Awschalom is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Last year, he was one of four UCSB researchers awarded the 2004-05 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize for an elusive discovery of the "Spin Hall Effect" in semiconductors. In 2005, he received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize, given annually by the American Physical Society for fundamental contributions to experimental studies of quantum spin dynamics and spin coherence in condensed matter systems.
Awschalom received his Ph.D. in experimental physics from Cornell University, then served as research staff member and manager of the Nonequilibrium Physics Department at the IBM Watson Research Center in New York. In 1991, he joined UCSB as a professor of physics, and in 2001 was additionally appointed as a professor of electrical and computer engineering. He is director of the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation, and associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute. Awschalom's research group is concerned with exploring magnetic and electron spin dynamics within a variety of semiconductor-based nanoscale systems.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.