Highly Cited Excellence

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

John Bowers, Nobel Laureate Alan Heeger, Chris Van de Walle, and Xi Dai, all materials professors in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, are among the most influential scientists in the world, according to the 2021 Highly Cited Researchers List released by Clarivate Analytics. The annual list identifies scientists who are in the top one percent of their field by citations. Researchers on the list have demonstrated significant and broad influence in their fields, reflected in their publication of multiple papers that were highly cited by their peers over the past decade. 

“On behalf of the College of Engineering, we congratulate Professors Bowers, Heeger, Dai, and Van de Walle on this tremendous honor that reflects the impact of their pioneering research and the strength of our Materials Department,” said Tresa Pollock, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Alcoa Distinguished Professor of Materials. “The scientific community that has cited their work benefits greatly from their intellectual contributions, and their work propels us toward a bright future.” 

The methodology for identifying the highly cited researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts from the Institute for Scientific Information at the Web of Science Group. They examined highly cited papers, or those that ranked in the top one percent, in science and social sciences journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection from 2010 through 2020. The Core Collection includes more than 20,000 peer-reviewed, high-quality scholarly journals published worldwide. 

A Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bowers is a world leader in the areas of silicon photonics, optoelectronics, energy efficiency, and the development of novel low-power optoelectronic devices for the next generation of optical networks. According to the Web of Science, Bowers’s publications in the Core Collection received 20,637 citations from 2010-2020. The Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology and the director of the college’s Institute for Energy Efficiency, Bowers is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This marks the fifth year in a row and sixth time overall that Van de Walle has been named a highly cited researcher. His research group performs computational work to develop a fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of materials in order to improve existing materials and discover new ones. From 2010-20, Van de Walle’s publications in the Core Collection were cited 32,203 times, according to the Web of Science. He is an elected member of the NAE, and a fellow of the IEEE, AAAS, APS, and the Materials Research Society (MRS).

Dai is a leading expert in the theory of quantum materials, who joined the UCSB Materials Department in January 2021 from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he had been a chair professor in physics. Dai’s research of topological materials involves taking abstract theoretical concepts about topological matter and mapping them onto real world materials. He has predicted several classes of new topological materials that have spawned a profusion of experimental activity worldwide. Dai is a fellow of the APS and received the McGroddy Prize for New Materials from APS in recognition of his work in topological matter. 

Heeger, now a professor emeritus of the Materials Department, made the list for the eighth straight year. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 for pioneering research that established him as a co-founder of the field of semiconducting and metallic polymers. Additional honors received by Heeger include the Oliver E. Buckley Prize for Condensed Matter Physics and the Balzan Prize for the Science of New Materials, as well as election to the National Academy of Science, the NAE, the Korean Academy of Science, and the Chinese Academy of Science.

The six additional UCSB researchers who are ranked among the most highly cited in 2021 include: Leon Balents (physics), Benjamin S. Halpern (environment and ecology), John M. Martinis (physics), Joshua P. Schimel (cross-field), Jonathan Schooler (psychiatry and psychology), and James A. Thomson (cross-field). 

The 2021 list contains 6,602 highly cited researchers in various fields from more than 70 countries and regions. 

(Clockwise from top left) Xi Dai, John Bowers, Alan Heeger, Chris Van de Walle