Incoming president Paul Alivisatos to join Department of Chemistry and PME

May 13, 2021

Paul Alivisatos and his research group will conduct nanotechnology and materials science research

Paul Alivisatos
Paul Alivisatos, 14th president of the University of Chicago

The Physical Sciences Division is pleased to announce incoming President of the University of Chicago Paul Alivisatos will become a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, starting September 1.

An accomplished leader in higher education and a world-renowned scientist, Alivisatos, 61, expanded the field of nanomaterials and his excellence has been recognized with the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the National Medal of Science, and the 2021 American Chemical Society’s Priestley Medal. 

He is currently executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Department of Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering. Previous posts included Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley, and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

Groundbreaking contributions to the fundamental physical chemistry of nanocrystals are the hallmarks of Dr. Alivisatos' distinguished career. His inventions are widely used in biomedicine and QLED TV displays, and his scientific advances have yielded more than 50 patents. He also founded two prominent nanotechnology companies: Nanosys, Inc. and Quantum Dot Corp. (now part of Thermo Fisher).

Alivisatos will actively maintain his research program while president, and plans to move his research group to Chicago in 2022. He is known for his dedication as an educator and mentor, and has maintained a robust research group throughout his career.  

His research accomplishments include studies of the scaling laws governing the optical, electrical, structural, and thermodynamic properties of nanocrystals. He developed methods to synthesize size and shape controlled nanocrystals, and developed methods for preparing branched, hollow, nested, and segmented nanocrystals. In his research, he has demonstrated key applications of nanocrystals in biological imaging and renewable energy. He played a critical role in the establishment of the Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy's Nanoscale Science Research Center; and was the facility's founding director. He is the founding editor of Nano Letters, a leading scientific publication of the American Chemical Society in nanoscience.

“We are excited to have such a distinguished materials chemist and nanotech entrepreneur join our faculty, and look forward to involving Paul and the rest of his group in our activities,” said Andrei Tokmakoff, Chair and Professor of the Department of Chemistry.

The Physical Sciences Division will welcome Alivisatos back to his native Chicago and the campus where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1981 late this summer. 

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