Paul M. Goldbart, dean of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and a distinguished theoretical physicist, will become Stony Brook University’s next executive vice president and provost.
Goldbart’s appointment, effective March 22, 2021, was announced by Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis, who said that he “rose to the top of a very competitive pool of candidates in a national search.”
“I am certain that Paul Goldbart will play an integral role in helping to elevate our performance and reputation as a leading public research university,” President McInnis said. “A renowned scientist, educator and academic leader, Paul is exactly the right provost for Stony Brook University. Paul exhibited great strategic vision as dean, and he brings excellent experience in leading a large and complex college. He is an open and collaborative leader who is focused on building an inclusive and equitable environment for faculty, staff and students.”
Describing Goldbart as “a passionate advocate for public research universities,” President McInnis said she “witnessed his ability to build and strengthen connections spanning disciplines.
“He is deeply committed to supporting faculty as they pursue their scholarly ambitions and their work as educators; his focus on these efforts will be a tremendous benefit for the university community.”
Goldbart said he fell in love with public research universities such as Stony Brook long ago, describing them as “crucibles of human creativity, guardians of human capability and places where students can discover who they are and how they can contribute to the world.
“Stony Brook is a superb example, powered by its remarkable staff, students and faculty; outstanding partner organizations in the region; and passionate, dedicated alumni and friends.” He added, “I’m thrilled and fortunate to be joining a University community that I have long admired.”
A scientific leader in the areas of quantum materials and soft condensed matter, Goldbart is the Robert E. Boyer Chair in Natural Sciences and Mary Ann Rankin Leadership Chair for UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences.
He earned a diploma in mathematical physics and PhD in physics from Imperial College London, an MS in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in physics and theoretical physics from Cambridge University. His career includes appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was assistant, associate and full professor, and played key roles in the graduate program and research growth; and at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as physics chair and dean of the College of Sciences, notably overseeing expansion of undergraduate enrollment in the sciences, the launching of a neuroscience major, research infrastructure development and the fostering of Georgia Tech’s connections with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Goldbart’s research centers primarily on the physics of condensed matter, which explores how large-scale features of matter emerge as consequences of the nature of the constituents and the interactions between them. He has also contributed to the fields of quantum entanglement and chaos, mesoscopic physics, nano-superconductivity, quantum gases, along with law and economics. He has co-authored approximately 150 journal articles and a textbook: Mathematics for Physics — A Guided Tour for Graduate Students
As Stony Brook’s chief academic officer, Goldbart will be responsible for oversight of the academic mission of the university, providing direct supervision for all academic units, support services and operations, including enrollment management and student success, and coordinating all academic programs. The deans and directors of the colleges, schools, libraries, centers and institutes, including those in the Health Sciences Center related to non-clinical matters, will report to the provost.
“Shifting the Health Sciences schools to the provost for non-clinical matters will provide greater alignment in our research enterprise, enhance interdisciplinary education and offer enhanced services to our students and faculty,” President McInnis said.
Goldbart has been elected to fellowships in the American Physical Society, the U.K.’s Institute of Physics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he was named a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he spent 25 years before moving to Georgia Tech, Goldbart led a large-scale, multi-investigator Department of Energy program on quantum materials at the nanoscale, and he was the founding director of the university’s Institute for Condensed Matter Theory. His professional service includes panel and program reviewing for the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. He has also served as trustee and treasurer of the Aspen Center for Physics.
A committed advocate for public engagement in science and mathematics, Goldbart has delivered outreach lectures and has held leadership roles with the Frontiers in Science lecture series and Great American Eclipse festivities at Georgia Tech, as well as the Atlanta Science Festival.