2 Berkeley Lab physicists elected to National Academy of Sciences

Joel Moore, left, and Joseph W. Orenstein (Credit: UC Berkeley; Courtesy Joseph W. Orenstein)

Two physicists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Joel Moore and Joseph W. Orenstein join 120 scientists and engineers from the United States and 30 from around the world as new Life Members and Foreign Associates.

Joel Moore is a Principal Investigator in the Division of Materials Science, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials. His theoretical work investigates the properties of quantum materials, in which interactions between electrons produce new states of matter. He is also studying how quantum physics can lead to new devices for spin-based electronics and quantum sensing.

Before joining Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley in 2002, Moore was a postdoctoral fellow in the theoretical physics research group at Bell Labs. Moore earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University in 1995 and spent a Fulbright year abroad before graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Hertz scholarship.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Simons Scholar, and Chern-Simons Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley.

Joseph W. Orenstein is a senior researcher in the Division of Materials Science and a professor of physics at UC Berkeley. He has led the development of advanced experimental techniques to study how new materials, such as high temperature superconductors, multiferroics, topological materials and frustrated magnets, interact with light.

Orenstein earned his Ph.D. in solid-state physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980. Prior to joining Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley in 1990, he was an IBM postdoctoral fellow and a senior technical staff member at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

He received the Isaacson Prize from the American Physical Society for Optical Effects in Solids in 2008.

In 2020 he was honored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with an Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials (EPIQs) award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Besides Moore and Orenstein, Berkeley Laboratory Advisory Board Members Young-Kee Kim and France Córdova were also voted into the Class of 2022.

The NAS was founded in 1863 to provide the country with a nonpartisan council of science and technology leaders who could lend their expertise and advice to the government. Each year, a new class of 120-150 members is elected by existing members in recognition of outstanding achievement in their respective fields. There are now a total of 2,512 active US members and 517 international members.


Founded in 1931 on the belief that the greatest scientific challenges are best met by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been awarded 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers are developing sustainable energy and environmental solutions, creating useful new materials, pushing the boundaries of computing, and probing the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists around the world rely on the facilities of the laboratory for their own scientific discovery. Berkeley Lab is a multi-program national laboratory, operated by the University of California for the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The DOE’s Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic physical science research in the United States and works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

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