Three new chairs confront global energy challenges

“The Newton Chair provides discretionary funds that allow me the agility to initiate groundbreaking explorations of promising new lines of research.”

— Professor Van P. Carey

For more than a decade, Katherine ’88 and James ’81 Lau have proven their unwavering dedication to Berkeley as volunteer leaders and advisors. Katherine provided outstanding service as the recent chair of the UC Berkeley Foundation board, and James, founder of the technology company NetApp, serves on the College of Engineering’s advisory board. Together they are deeply committed to excellent teaching and research that have a strong impact on the world. 

During the campaign, the Laus established three chairs that support areas where Berkeley is making a critical difference — transformational research on pressing energy challenges.

Eli Yablonovitch, who holds the James and Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering, is researching improvements to the electronic components, transistors, lasers, and solar cells that will increasingly fulfill basic energy and transportation needs.

“This chair provides critical support when federal funding is inadequate,” says Yablonovitch, who developed a light-trapping factor that is now used on most solar panels worldwide. “My favorite ideas are those that go against conventional wisdom.”

Professor Van P. Carey uses his funds from the A. Richard Newton Chair in Engineering to support graduate student research on new energy and water technologies. “This enables me to better mentor them and foster their development into the next generation of scientists,” says Carey.

The recently established James and Katherine Lau Distinguished Chair in Sustainability will support work that spans the areas of environment and climate, energy supply and demand, and policy and markets.  It will be held by the director of the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute and advance the university’s leadership in developing scalable solutions for our planet.

Learn more!

Read more about Professor Eli Yablonovitch

Read more about Professor Van P. Carey

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