Incoming president Paul Alivisatos to join the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Incoming University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos will join the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and the Department of Chemistry as a professor, starting September 1.

An accomplished leader in higher education and a world-renowned scientist, Alivisatos 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.

Alivisatos is currently executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also 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.

A celebrated scientist and entrepreneur, Alivisatos has made pioneering research breakthroughs in nanomaterials. 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 Scientific).

In joining Pritzker Molecular Engineering, Alivisatos brings to the school his eminence in nanotechnology research as well as his background with collaborative partnerships between academic institutions and national labs. As the former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Alivisatos oversaw a renewal of the laboratory’s infrastructure and its refocus on renewable energy, as well as maintained the lab’s historic relationship with the University of California System. A similar relationship exists between UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

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, Alivisatos 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.

Alivisatos will actively maintain his research program while president and plans to move his research group to Chicago in 2022.

—This story was adapted from an article that first appeared on the Physical Sciences Division’s website.