UC Santa Barbara’s budding reputation as a powerhouse research university got another boost yesterday, as two professors were elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

Evelyn Hu, a materials and electrical and computer engineering professor, and William Murdoch, a professor of biology, ecology, evolution and marine biology were among 72 scientists admitted nationwide. The academy is widely acknowledged the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization.

Hu serves as the director of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB, which is charged with exploring the field of nanotechnology in conjunction with UCLA. Her research focuses on nanophotonics – a field that could potentially lead to advanced lighting technologies and faster computers and communication technology. She received a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University.

Murdoch, an Oxford educated ecologist, studies population dynamics – a discipline which draws both on mathematical computation and empirical ecological studies to analyze the fluctuation of individual animals in populations.

Their election brings the number of active UCSB fellows to 29. Additionally, a UCSB adjunct professor, University of Wisconsin stem cell researcher James Thomson was nominated for membership in NAS.

The professors will be inducted into the academy next April in Washington, D.C.