Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Witherell holds a University of California Presidential Chair in the Physics Department. He served as Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), the largest particle physics laboratory in the country, from July 1999 to June 2005, when he became Vice Chancellor at UCSB. From 1981 to 1999, Dr. Witherell was a faculty member in the UCSB physics department.
Dr. Witherell has done research in particle physics with accelerators at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), and Cornell Laboratory for Elementary Particle Physics, in addition to Fermilab. In 1990, his work on an experiment at Fermilab studying charm quarks brought him the prestigious W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics, awarded annually by the American Physical Society.
Dr. Witherell was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 for his work in the application of new technologies that "profoundly influenced all subsequent experiments aimed at the study of heavy-quark states." In 2004 he received the U. S. Secretary of Energy's Gold Award, the highest honorary award of the Department of Energy. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society.
Dr. Witherell graduated from the University of Michigan in 1968 and earned his Ph.D. in particle physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1973. He was a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at Princeton University from 1973 to 1981 before moving to UCSB.