About Paul Alivisatos

Paul Alivisatos is a distinguished leader in higher education and a world-renowned scientist. He comes to the University of Chicago from the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Alivisatos is also the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and former Director of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

As Berkeley’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Alivisatos has been responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and improvement of campus academic programs and policies. Since taking the role in 2017, he supported new initiatives to increase diversity in the undergraduate and graduate student body and achieve greater faculty and leadership diversity. He also has been deeply engaged in issues of free speech and social justice.

Alivisatos spearheaded efforts to transform undergraduate education—leading a campus-wide initiative that created immersive learning projects and discovery experiences for students, sponsoring programs to improve remote education and improving students access to technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, and starting a series of forums that promoted mentoring between faculty and graduate students. During his tenure, Berkeley also launched a new division focused on data science, creating opportunities for students in the humanities and the social sciences to join the fast-growing field.

As Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2009 to 2016, Alivisatos guided the U.S. Department of Energy lab through a period of transformational change, creating new programs in biosciences, renewable energy, and entrepreneurship. From 2016 to 2017, he served as Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research, fostering greater interdisciplinary faculty research and strengthening opportunities for undergraduate research.

A preeminent 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).

Among his more than 25 awards and honors, Alivisatos has received the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and the Priestley Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Alivisatos received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1981 from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. He has been a member of the Berkeley faculty since 1988.

Paul Alivisatos
Incoming President of the University of Chicago
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