9 Jul 2010

OIST names renowned physicist Prof. Jonathan Dorfan as its first President



Prof. Jonathan Dorfan, acclaimed scholar and strong administrator from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, to lead the new Graduate University opening in 2012

Okinawa, Japan, July 9, 2010 The Establishing Members for the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology School Corporation announced today that they have selected Prof. Jonathan Dorfan, an internationally recognized physicist and Director Emeritus of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (now renamed SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory), as the first President of the new Graduate University opening in 2012 in Okinawa, Japan. Prof. Dorfan will bring to the institution his extensive experience as a director and manager of world-class scientific research and leader of major international collaborative initiatives.

After receiving a doctoral degree in experimental particle physics from the University of California-Irvine in 1976, Prof. Dorfan worked at Stanford University for over three decades. From 1999 to 2007, he served as the Director of SLAC, overseeing 1,500 staff and a research program comprising about 3,000 scientists from 25 nations.  His directorship at SLAC turned what was primarily a single-purpose, particle physics research center into a multi-program laboratory known for its excellence in particle physics, photon science and particle astrophysics. Prof. Dorfan was the project director for the SLAC B-factory program. Measurements performed at the SLAC B Factory and at the sister KEK B-factory in Tsukuba provided the experimental confirmation of the theory by Japanese scientists Dr. Toshihide Maskawa and Dr. Makoto Kobayashi, winning them the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics and contributing to the advancement of particle physics. At present, he serves as an advisor and a board member at many highly regarded institutions around the world, including the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London in U.K., and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Throughout his career, Prof. Dorfan has developed a broad and diverse international network of scientists, including his strong friendships and good working relationships with prominent scientists in Japan.

The search for the first president of OIST was carried out over more than a year, and involved an open international search, with advertisements in scientific journals and the OIST website, and professional networks of the OIST Establishing Members.  The search was conducted in all continents and was open to all nationalities and genders. The candidates had to be internationally competitive as a researcher and an administrator, and the Establishing Members made every effort to identify and attract such individuals. From the total of 160 candidates identified worldwide, the Establishing Members undertook a process of thorough screening and interviews to select Prof. Dorfan.

The Establishing Members are confident that Prof. Dorfan will contribute greatly to the recruitment of outstanding faculty and students from around the globe, to the formulation of the graduate school curriculum, and to the ongoing development of OIST’s collaboration with academia and industry worldwide. Through his active interaction with the local community, the Establishing Members are hopeful that Prof. Dorfan will help OIST become a contributing factor to the future development of Okinawa.