Dr. Eric D. Isaacs named 11th President of the Carnegie Institution for Science

Washington, D.C.—By unanimous vote of the Carnegie Board of Trustees, Dr. Eric D. Isaacs has been appointed the 11th president of the Carnegie Institution for Science. Isaacs joins Carnegie from the University of Chicago and will succeed Interim Co-Presidents John Mulchaey and Yixian Zheng on July 2, 2018.

Dr. Isaacs is currently the Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and National Laboratories and the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago, where he directly oversees the Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the university’s partnership with the Giant Magellan Telescope project—of which Carnegie is a founding partner. He is also on the board of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, which is an affiliate of the university.

“We are very optimistic that Dr. Isaacs’ longstanding support and expertise in interdisciplinary research in the astronomical, life, and physical sciences and his efforts to develop computing and data science will complement and extend Carnegie Science’s scientific contributions,” remarked Co-Chairs of the Carnegie Board Suzanne Nora Johnson and Stephen Fodor. “In addition, he is a proven leader with significant experience in managing large, complex organizations and partnerships.”

“For more than a century, the exceptional men and women of Carnegie Science have worked at the forefront of discovery, seeking answers to some of the most profound questions in life, earth, and space sciences,” Isaacs said. “I am honored to join Carnegie’s researchers in building on this unique organization’s proud history of scientific excellence and independence, and I look forward to working with my talented colleagues to expand our intellectual frontiers even further. Together we will explore the natural world and advance the public’s understanding of the importance of scientific inquiry to the future of our nation and our world.”

The Co-Chairs added: “We also are very grateful for the leadership that the Interim Co-Presidents Drs. John Mulchaey and Yixian Zheng have provided since the first of the year, while continuing to direct their own departments at the Observatories and Embryology. Their input as members of the presidential search committee has been invaluable.  We thank them for taking on these essential roles.”

Dr. Isaacs’ research interests are in condensed matter physics and quantum materials. He has a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and a bachelor’s degree from Beloit College. From 2014 to 2016, he served as provost at the University of Chicago. Prior to that he was director of Argonne National Laboratories for five years, where he had been since 2003, with a joint appointment with the physics department. Previously, he worked for 15 years at Bell Laboratories.

Interim Co-Presidents Mulchaey and Zheng remarked, “The candidate pool was particularly strong, and Dr. Isaacs represented the best mix of all the qualities, skills, and experience that we were seeking. We are confident that with his installation as the 11th president, Carnegie Science will flourish as we continue our second century of pursuing new scientific frontiers.”


The Carnegie Institution for Science (carnegiescience.edu) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.