Burton Richter was born in 1931 in New York. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1952 and 1956, respectively. He began as a post doc at Stanford University in 1956, became a professor in 1967, and director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in 1984. His research has centered on experimental particle physics with high energy electrons and electron-positron colliding beams. He has been a pioneer in colliding beam technology. At Stanford, he has been a member of the Academic Senate, the Graduate Study Committee, and is a member of the University Cabinet.

Richter received the Nobel Prize in Physics (1976) and the E. O. Lawrence Medal of the Department of Energy (1976). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the European Physical Society; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of The American Physical Society and is currently President of the APS.

He is or has been a member of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Energy (high energy physics and fusion), Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab., M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and to the European laboratories CERN, DESY, and the Max Planck Institute in Munich. He has been chairman of the U.S. Accelerator School Steering Committee. He is a member of the Director's Council of the Scripp's Institution of Oceanography.

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, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Varian Associates and Litel Instruments.

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