Burton Richter

Board Members

Burton RichterDr. Burton Richter’s work has focused on experimental particle physics with high energy electrons and electron-positron colliding beams. As a leading physics professor at Stanford University, Richter built a particle accelerator (Stanford Positron-Electron Asymmetric Ring) with the help of David Ritson and the support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. With it he discovered a new subatomic particle called a psi-particle (now called a J-particle). The same discovery was made independently by Samuel Ting. The two scientists were jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. From 1982 to 1984, became the Technical Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and then Director until 1999. Since 1999, he has been devoting an increasing amount of time to issues relating to energy and sustainable development. He worked at Varian Medical Systems Inc. He was Director of the SLAC National Accelerator Center. He serves as a Board Member of Litel Instruments and AREVA Enterprises, Inc. He attended Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, then continued on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1952 and his PhD in 1956.

Additionally, Dr. Richter has served on many advisory committees to governments, laboratories and universities. He recently served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Laboratory Operations Board, Nuclear Energy Task Force (2000-2006) and chaired the National Research Council's Board on Physics and Astronomy. In May 2007, he visited Iran and Sharif University of Technology. Currently, he chairs the Transmutation Subcommittee of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and serves on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Advisory Board. He is a member of the French Commissaire a l'Energie Atomique (CEA) Visiting Group and the Jason Group.

He is interested in industry and its use of science and technology, and has been a member of the General Motors Science Advisory Committee, chairman of the technology advisory board of an artificial intelligence company, a member of the Board of Directors of Varian Associates and Varian Medical Systems, and AREVA Enterprises, Inc. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Litel Instruments. Richter serves on the board of directors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.


  • Richter received the Nobel Prize in Physics, 1976
  • E. O. Lawrence Medal of the Department of Energy, 1976
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of The American Physical Society (President, 1994).
  • Enrico Fermi Award recipient, 2012

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