Claudio Pellegrini, a distinguished professor emeritus of physics at UCLA, as well as an adjunct professor in photon science at the SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) National Accelerator Laboratory, was elected today to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” The academy announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates.

Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors that a U.S. scientist can receive. Its members have included Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell.

“Election to the National Academy of Sciences is certainly a great honor, and I am deeply grateful to UCLA,” Pellegrini said. “The time there was the best in my life. I am deeply grateful for the support I received over many years from UCLA, my colleagues, students and postdocs.”

In 2015, President Barack Obama named Pellegrini a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, a presidential award and one of the government’s oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement. Pellegrini received the Enrico Fermi Award “for pioneering research advancing understanding of relativistic electron beams and free-electron lasers, and for transformative discoveries profoundly impacting the successful development of the first hard x-ray free-electron laser, heralding a new era for science.”

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. The academy is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.