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The Next Director of MSRI

Dr. David Eisenbud appointed the next director of MSRI 


Dr. Phillip Griffiths, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, announced the appointment of Dr. David Eisenbud as the next director of MSRI. David Eisenbud’s four-year term at MSRI is effective August 1, 2013.  Currently, Eisenbud is a professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, and he is the director for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences at the Simons Foundation in New York.

In fact, David Eisenbud is returning to helm MSRI, where he previously served as director for a 10-year tenure from 1997 to 2007. “David Eisenbud’s remarkable vision saw MSRI through a fantastic transformation in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and his intimate knowledge of its workings ensures that he will be an inspiring leader in his second Directorship,” commented Robert Bryant, Director of MSRI.

“It is an exciting challenge for me to maintain the wonderful programs that Robert Bryant has supervised and to try to develop them further,” said David Eisenbud.  “I’m honored to have been asked to return to this position, and I look forward to the work ahead.”  Simultaneously with the directorship, Eisenbud will continue to serve on the faculty at UC Berkeley.

David Eisenbud’s (re)appointment as director of MSRI follows a nationwide search process led by a committee of the Institute’s trustees chaired by Richard Schoen, which included Elwyn Berlekamp, Ruth Charney, Helmut Hofer, and Hugo Sonnenschein, and Robion Kirby, who represented UC Berkeley’s Math Department. After considering a number of excellent candidates, the committee presented its recommendation to MSRI’s Board, which made the final selection. “The search committee is very impressed with David Eisenbud’s deep commitment to the mission of MSRI and with his vision for the future of the Institute.  With David’s strong leadership skills and firsthand experience, we feel that he is well positioned to provide the optimal mix of continuity and self-correction for MSRI during the next several years,” said Richard Schoen.

David Eisenbud received his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1970 at the University of Chicago under Saunders Mac Lane and Chris Robson, and was on the faculty at Brandeis University before going to the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been professor of mathematics since 1997.  Eisenbud has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and a research professor at the University of Bonn in Germany, at the Institut des Hautes √Čtudes Scientifiques in France and at the Institut Poincar√©.

Eisenbud was president of the American Mathematical Society from 2003 to 2005. He is now a director at Math for America, a foundation devoted to improving mathematics teaching. He chairs the editorial board of the journal Algebra and Number Theory, which he helped establish in 2006, and serves on several other editorial boards. Eisenbud has been a member of the board of Mathematical Sciences and their Applications (part of the National Research Council), and is a member of the U.S. National Committee of the International Mathematical Union. In 2006, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Eisenbud’s major research contributions have focused on the study of algebraic curves and their moduli, and on the commutative algebra and algebraic geometry related to free resolutions. His mathematical interests also include topology and computer methods.

“Since its founding thirty years ago, MSRI has taken on a central position in the mathematical sciences,” said David Eisenbud. “It is a world center for fundamental research and training brilliant young people. It is a place where mathematicians can collaborate with those from other sciences. It is a leader in encouraging the participation of minorities and women. It is important as a place that connects mathematical researchers with mathematics education, and as a place where the many connections of mathematics with art are appreciated and developed.”

Eisenbud is the fifth director in the Institute’s 30-year history. He succeeds Robert Bryant, who has served as MSRI director since 2007 and is also a full professor at UC Berkeley. “David Eisenbud is an internationally recognized leader in the mathematics community and a leading authority in commutative algebra,” said Bryant. “Moreover, he has outstanding talent as an administrator and as an organizer, as evidenced by his enormously successful term as President of the American Mathematical Society and his first Directorship of MSRI.”