John Bowers Elected AAAS Fellow

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected six faculty from UC Santa Barbara, including John Bowers, a distinguished professor in the Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, to its newest class of AAAS Fellows, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community. 

Bowers, the Fred Kavli Chair of Nanotechnology and director of UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency, is a world leader in photonics and optoelectronics. The AAAS recognized Bowers “for pioneering research in silicon photonics, including hybrid silicon lasers, photonic integrated circuits, and ultra low-loss waveguides.” His research focuses on the use of light to transmit data. As a result of his work to integrate electronic and photonic elements on a single silicon-based chip, the next generation of computers and telecommunications devices will be able to receive and transmit data at much faster speeds while using a fraction of the energy that computers use today. 

A veteran of industry who worked at Bell Laboratories and Honeywell before joining UCSB in 1987, Bowers has published nearly five hundred journal papers and received more than fifty patents. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Academy of Inventors, the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the American Physical Society, and the recipient of the OSA Holonyak Award. 

“The College of Engineering is proud to congratulate Professor John Bowers on this distinct honor from his peers,” said Tresa Pollock, the interim dean and Alcoa Distinguished Professor of Materials. “This recognition is a testament to his pioneering research in photonics and optoelectronics, which has benefited society and will continue to do so. His innovative work in integrated silicon photonics is leading the way to the future of telecommunications and electronics.” 

The five other UCSB faculty elected in 2021 include Leon Balents (Physics), Matthew P.A. Fisher (Physics), Michael Gurven (Anthropology), Mary Hegarty (Psychological & Brain Sciences), and Joel Harry Rothman (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology). In all, the 2021 class of AAAS includes 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators in 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

“AAAS is proud to bestow the honor of AAAS Fellow to some of today’s brightest minds who are integral to forging our path into the future,” said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We celebrate these distinguished individuals for their invaluable contributions to the scientific enterprise.”

The new Fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold-and-blue rosette pin to commemorate their election and will be celebrated later this year during an in-person gathering when it is feasible in terms of public health and safety. The new class will also be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science in January 2022. 

John Bowers

John Bowers