Caltech Announces New President

Thomas F. Rosenbaum Thomas F. Rosenbaum. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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October 24, 2013

Today the California Institute of Technology announced Thomas F. Rosenbaum will be its ninth president.

Dr. Rosenbaum, 58, is currently the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago, where he has served as the university's provost for the past seven years. As a distinguished physicist and expert on condensed matter physics, Dr. Rosenbaum has explored the quantum mechanical nature of materials, making major contributions to the understanding of matter near absolute zero, where such quantum mechanical effects dominate.

Dr. Rosenbaum has had responsibility for an unusually broad range of institutions and intellectual endeavors. Among his achievements as provost was the establishment of the Institute for Molecular Engineering in 2011, the University of Chicago's very first engineering program, in collaboration with Argonne National Lab.

As provost, Dr. Rosenbaum was also instrumental in establishing collaborative educational programs serving communities around Chicago's Hyde Park campus, including the university's founding of a four-campus charter school that was originally designed to further fundamental research in education but which has also achieved extraordinary college placement results for disadvantaged Chicago youths.

"The Caltech community's palpable and deep commitment to the Institute came through in all my conversations, and it forms the basis for Caltech's and JPL's lasting impact," Dr. Rosenbaum says. "It will be a privilege to work closely with faculty, students, staff, and trustees to explore new opportunities, building on Caltech's storied accomplishments."

Dr. Rosenbaum received his bachelor's degree in physics with honors from Harvard University in 1977, and both an MA and PhD in physics from Princeton University in 1979 and 1982, respectively. His honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the William McMillan Award for "outstanding contributions to condensed matter physics." Dr. Rosenbaum is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Rosenbaum's spouse is Katherine T. Faber. Dr. Faber is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. She will be joining the faculty of Caltech. Dr. Rosenbaum and Dr. Faber have two sons, Daniel and Michael.

The presidential search was conducted by Caltech's Faculty Search Committee, chaired by Fiona Harrison, and the Institute's Trustee Selection Committee, chaired by David Lee.

Dr. Rosenbaum will succeed Jean-Lou Chameau, who served the Institute from 2006 to 2013, and will take over the helm from interim president and provost Ed Stolper on July 1, 2014.

Founded by Caltech faulty, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a division of Caltech and is the leading U.S. center for the robotic exploration of the solar system.

Jane Platt (818) 354-0880
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.