Science and Technology’s Highest Honor
UCSB professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials will receive the
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Arthur Gossard, a research professor and professor emeritus
of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has been named
to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the White House has announced.
The National Medal of Science and its companion, the National Medal of Technology and
Innovation, represent the nation’s highest honors for achievement in leadership in advancing
the fields of science and technology.
Gossard is among eight recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation
and nine recipients of the National Medal of Science. All will be feted at a White House
ceremony early next year.
“Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our nation’s biggest
challenges,” President Obama said. “The knowledge produced by these Americans today will
carry our country’s legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around
the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity.”
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is
administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and
Trademark Office. The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to
America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological
workforce. A distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors
submits recommendations to the president.
“I am thrilled and honored to join with our colleagues in congratulating Professor
Gossard on his selection for the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation,” said
UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “His creative approach to solving problems,
combined with his wide-ranging expertise, relentless curiosity and lifelong passion for frontier-
expanding research, has led to remarkable accomplishments that have profoundly influenced
the current direction of semiconductor science and technology.
“Mobile phone communications, satellite reception, quantum computation and high-
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efficiency multi-junction solar cells for electricity generation are just some of the exciting fields
that exemplify the rich consequences of his work,” Yang continued. “We are so very proud to
see Professor Gossard’s achievements and contributions, especially his pioneering
development of molecular-beam epitaxy, recognized in this meaningful way.”
Noted Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering at UCSB, “Professor Gossard’s
work in the area of materials growth is at the foundation of ground-breaking scientific and
technological advances in semiconductor molecular layered materials. He and colleagues have
leveraged this work to make fundamentally new optoelectronic devices, including the lasers
and high-speed electronics that make the global Internet possible. The application of his
discoveries and inventions has profoundly touched the daily lives of people worldwide.”
“I am honored to join the group of other scientists, engineers and technologists who
have previously received this award,” Gossard said. “I want to thank my family, teachers and
colleagues for their huge contributions. And I am pleased by the recognition that the award
bring to UC and especially to UCSB.”
Gossard, who joined the faculty at UCSB in 1987, is best know for his research of
molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), the growth of quantum wells, superlattices, magnetic
semiconductors and metal/semiconductor nanocomposites and their applications to high-
performance electrical and optical devices and the physics of low-dimensional structures. He
grew the first alternate monolayer artificial superlattices in semiconductors and the first
modulation doped quantum wells.
In the past decade, Gossard synthesized semiconductor quantum structures that
allowed quantum coherent manipulation and coupling of electron spins in semiconductor
quantum dots. This provided a physical basis for information processing schemes that use two-
state quantum systems (quantum bits) to provide efficient computation and secure
communication. Gossard also created semiconductor quantum structures in which purely
electrically induced electron spin polarization was discovered.
Among his other important scientific contributions are participation in the formation of
Superconductor Technologies, Inc., and the application of high-temperature superconductivity
to mobile phone networks and now to large, ocean-based high-efficiency wind turbines for
generating electrical power.
Gossard received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and his Ph.D.
in physics from UC Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the
National Academy of Science.