Thomas F. Rosenbaum Is the New President of Caltech


Thomas F. Rosenbaum, a distinguished physicist and an expert in condensed matter physics, has been named the new president of the California Institute of Technology. Rosenbaum, 58, succeeds Jean-Lou Chameau, who left the university earlier this year to lead King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

"The combination of deep management experience and visionary leadership Tom brings will serve Caltech extremely well in the coming years," David Lee, chair of the Caltech Board of Trustees said in an official statement. "The board is excited about collaborating closely with Tom to propel the institute to new levels of scientific leadership."

Rosenbaum is the current provost, the position he is been holding since 2007 and John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago.

"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," Rosenbaum said in the statement. "It will be a privilege to work closely with faculty, students, staff and trustees to explore new opportunities, building on Caltech's storied accomplishments."

When Rosenbaum takes on the new responsibility as Caltech's ninth president beginning July 1 2014, one of the challenges he will be facing is the task of maintaining the school's reputation amid decreased federal funding for scientific research.

"Caltech is a very special place and we need someone who can recognize that, preserve that and continue to help us excel," Jacqueline K. Barton, who chairs Caltech's chemistry and chemical engineering department told LA Times.

Talking about his academic qualifications, Rosenbaum earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University in 1977 and a master's and a doctorate 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."

"Tom embodies all the qualities the faculty committee hoped to find in our next president," Faculty Search Committee chairwoman Fiona Harrison said in the statement. "He is a first-rate scholar and someone who understands at a deep level the commitment to fundamental inquiry that characterizes Caltech. He is also the kind of ambitious leader who will develop the faculty's ideas into the sorts of innovative ventures that will maintain Caltech's position of prominence in the next generation of science and technology."

Katherine Faber, Rosenbaum's wife, will also be joining the Caltech faculty. Currently, Faber is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.

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