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Alphabet adds Nobel Prize-winning engineer Frances Arnold to its board

Google's parent company makes more changes after its founders stepped down from leadership roles last week.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. 
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Monday that Google's parent company is adding Frances Arnold, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018, to its board of directors. 

Arnold, a chemical engineer and professor at the California Institute of Technology, won the prize for her work studying the directed evolution of enzymes. She's only the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry since it was first awarded in 1901, the New York Times said when she was given the award last year.  

"Frances brings incredible academic and industry expertise with a career spanning chemistry, engineering, renewable energy and more," Pichai said in a tweet.

"I've long admired Alphabet's commitment to technology and research, and to improving the lives of people around the world, and I'm excited to be a part of that," Arnold said in a statement. 

The appointment comes a week after Alphabet announced bombshell changes to its corporate structure. Larry Page and Sergey Brin said their stepping down from executive leadership roles at Alphabet, leaving Pichai to run the entire conglomerate. Page and Brin, however, will retain voting control over its board.

Arnold, who grew up in Pennsylvania, received her bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University, then got her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.