Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Professor Robert L. Jaffe has been appointed director of the Center for Theoretical Physics (CTP), a division of the Department of Physics and of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science that carries out research in theoretical particle and nuclear physics. Professor Jaffe replaces Professor John W. Negele, who had been director for 10 years.
Professor Jaffe has received wide recognition for both his research and teaching achievements. His research on the dynamics of quark confinement in the standard model of elementary particles focuses on problems at the boundary between particle and nuclear theory, giving him a unique perspective for leading the CTP. Over the past two years, he has been deeply involved in establishing a new research center at Brookhaven National Laboratory, supported by the Japanese RIKEN research institute and focused on theoretical and experimental aspects of quark dynamics.
Professor Jaffe has received two teaching awards in the last academic year. He was awarded the physics department's 1997 Buechner Teaching Prize, and in early 1998 he was made a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. He was also chair of the faculty from 1993-95 and is the co-founder of the Symposium at MIT, an interdisciplinary faculty program dedicated to improving the exchange of ideas within the faculty.
Professor Jaffe came to MIT in 1972 as a postdoctoral research associate and joined the faculty in 1974. He received his AB in physics from Princeton in 1968 and the PhD from Stanford in 1972.
The director of CTP is appointed by the head of the Department of Physics with the approval of the Dean of Science.
"Like John Negele, Bob Jaffe is one of our best teachers and one of our leading theorists," said Professor Marc Kastner in making the appointment. "This is a particularly exciting time for the CTP, when we hope to increase our emphasis on mathematical physics while maintaining our traditional strength in the understanding of experimental observations. I am confident that in doing this, Bob will continue to maintain the high standards of teaching and research for the CTP faculty that John established over the past decade."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 1998.