Goldbart Named Dean of College of Sciences

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Following a national search, Georgia Tech’s College of Sciences has a new leader. Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice provost for Academic Affairs, announced Tuesday that Paul Goldbart, professor and chair of Tech’s School of Physics, would assume the responsibilities of College of Sciences dean, beginning July 1.

Goldbart succeeds Paul Houston, who, last August, announced plans to step down in June 2013 and retire in 2014.

Before joining Tech’s School of Physics in 2011, Goldbart spent 25 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

“In Paul Goldbart, we get a scholar and a leader with a wealth of experience from his years at UIUC, and at the same time an individual who in a couple of years has adapted and integrated into the One Georgia Tech fabric,” said Bras. “I am delighted to count Paul among the university’s academic leadership.”  

Goldbart said he intends to build upon Houston’s work. 

“My sincere thanks go to Dean Paul Houston for his superb leadership and initiative, under which the College of Sciences has truly thrived,” he said. “I feel honored to take on the role of dean; I look forward to helping the College's outstanding faculty, students and staff realize their aspirations; and I relish the opportunity to pool my ideas with theirs to drive the College forward.”

Having spent the past 35 years as a physicist and teacher, Goldbart acknowledges a “lifelong romance” with science and mathematics.

“I think the task of the College of Sciences is to be a passionate advocate for the full range of scientific and mathematical endeavors, especially those whose potential for application cannot – at the present time – be known,” he said.

Since Goldbart’s arrival at Georgia Tech, the School of Physics has appointed five new faculty members – two in biophysics and three in astrophysics. Two of the newly appointed faculty members are from historically underrepresented groups. 

Goldbart’s participation in campuswide activities includes infrastructure development to help generate plans for shared, wide-use experimental facilities, as well as involvement in retreats for faculty that focus on identifying new career challenges. He also launched a popular program of lectures for the general public on cutting-edge ideas in science.

As chair of Tech’s School of Physics, Goldbart has partnered with his colleagues to initiate reforms in undergraduate and graduate education, to infuse teaching with best practices, to create new classes, and to foster the development of a massive open online course, Your World is Your Laboratory, led by Professor Michael Schatz. He has also collaborated with the College of Sciences on numerous activities devoted to building partnerships with alumni and friends of Georgia Tech, and to generate resources.

Goldbart’s research – much of it done jointly with graduate student and postdoctoral collaborators – examines a wide range of issues, from the soft matter science of crystalline liquids and macromolecular networks, to the complexity of spin glasses, to quantum currents in nano-circuits and superconductors, to aspects of biophysics. He also has explored the co-crystallization of atoms and light in ultracold vapors and has contributed to the theory of quantum entanglement – and even to a little law and economics. He interacts widely, with both experimentalists and theorists, and has co-authored more than 140 journal articles as well as a textbook: Mathematics for Physics – A Guided Tour for Graduate Students.

Goldbart earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge, and a master’s in physics from the University of California – Los Angeles. He earned a diploma in mathematical physics and a Ph.D. in physics from Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London.



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