Nobel laureate Herbert Kroemer, professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was presented with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on Saturday, October 20 in Los Angeles.
The award was presented by Wolfgang Ischinger, the new German Ambassador to the United States, in the name of the president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau. It is the highest award given by the German government.
"It's a fabulous honor," said Kroemer. "What else can I say?"
Kroemer, who holds the Donald W. Whittier Chair in Electrical Engineering at UCSB, shared the year 2000 Nobel Prize in physics for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and opto-electronics.
"I am so pleased that the Federal Republic of Germany has elected to bestow its Order of Merit on Herbert Kroemer," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "At UC Santa Barbara we regard Professor Kroemer as a national treasure, and this distinguished award is clear indication that his homeland considers him to be a national treasure as well."
A native of Germany, Kroemer received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1952 from the University of Göttingen, with a dissertation on hot-electron effects in the then-new transistor, setting the stage for a career in research on the physics of semiconductors and semiconductor devices. He worked in a number of research laboratories in Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1959 where he continued working in industry. He joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in 1968 and moved to UCSB in 1976.