Newswise — UPTON, NY—The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has named Alex Harris as Director of the Lab’s Energy Sciences Department, effective May 1, 2021.

In his new position, Harris will manage several divisions of the Laboratory, including the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the Chemistry Division, and the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Division. Together, these divisions conduct fundamental research on advanced energy technologies and clean energy solutions, spanning from electric vehicle batteries to artificial photosynthesis, as well as research on quantum materials and nanomaterials to advance quantum information science.

“The Energy Sciences Department has leading scientists in chemical, materials, and nanosciences working together on problems that address DOE and national priorities in energy and quantum science,” Harris said. “Those are topics of rising national importance and there are exciting opportunities ahead. I’m honored to lead the Department to continue developing those themes and to strengthen collaborations with other departments, particularly with the National Synchrotron Light Source II, which is a key partner in much of our research.”

Beginning in September 2020, Harris simultaneously handled the role of Interim Energy Sciences Director and his regular role as Chair of the Chemistry Division, which he has held since 2003. As Chemistry Chair, Harris made significant contributions to the Lab’s vision for sustainable energy conversion. He will now continue as Acting Chair of the Chemistry Division while the Lab conducts a search for a new chair.

“The Chemistry Division is at the center of Brookhaven’s fundamental research on clean energy solutions. It has been rewarding to work with the division scientists to develop programs that address important national needs and are producing some great science. Chemistry has a family spirit and I look forward to continue working with people in the division in my new role,” Harris said.

Harris originally came to Brookhaven from Agere Systems, where he was Director of the Guided Wave and Electro-optics Research Department. His early career was at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, where he became department head of Materials Chemistry Research. Harris earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Chemistry from Swarthmore College.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

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