Pakistan-born astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala named dean of MIT School of Science


Pakistan-born quantum astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala has been named the new dean of the MIT School of Science, one of the five schools of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it emerged on Tuesday.

According to MIT News, she will become the new dean from September 1 and will succeed Michael Sipser, who will return to the faculty as the Donner Professor of Mathematics after six years of service.

She has received numerous awards and honors’ for her research and teaching, and since 2015 has been the associate head of the Department of Physics. Mavalvala will be the first woman to serve as dean in the School of Science.”

It added that Mavalvala was “energized and optimistic” about the role ahead, even as she acknowledged the unprecedented challenges the school and the institute as a whole were facing during this difficult time.

“We’re in this moment where enormous changes are afoot,” she said. “We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and economic challenge, and we’re also in a moment, at least in US history, where the imperative for racial and social justice is really strong.

“As someone in a leadership position, that means you have opportunities to make an important and hopefully lasting impact,” she said.

Meanwhile, MIT President L. Rafael Reif stated that Mavalvala’s “brilliance as a researcher and educator speaks eloquently for itself”.

“What excites me equally about her appointment as dean are the qualities I have seen in her as a leader: She is a deft, collaborative problem-solver, a wise and generous colleague, an incomparable mentor, and a champion for inclusive excellence.

“As we prepare for the start of this most unusual academic year, it gives me great comfort to know that the School of Science will remain in such capable hands.”

The report added that the news was announced by Provost Martin Schmidt via a letter emailed to the MIT community in which he said:

“I very much look forward to working with her and to benefiting from her unerring sense of scientific opportunity, infectious curiosity, down-to-earth manner and practical wisdom.


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