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Edmund Bertschinger, professor of physics and division head, astrophysics, has been appointed the Head of the Department of Physics, effective July 1.
Bertschinger succeeds Marc Kastner, who will become dean of the School of Science, also effective on July 1.
In making the announcement Kastner said, "Ed is a deep, broad physicist, and a superb educator of undergraduates and graduate students. He has done an outstanding job leading our astrophysics effort, and I am confident that he will be an excellent department head."
In his role at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Bertschinger leads a program investigating the formation of cosmic structure after the big bang, the physics of dark matter both in the early universe and in forming galaxies, and the physical processes governing matter and radiation close to black holes. He enjoys working with his students from the high school to graduate levels in his research in astrophysics, cosmology, and general relativity, some of whom have won national awards for their work. Bertschinger himself has won the 2002 Buechner Teaching prize for his undergraduate and graduate classes in relativity.
Bertschinger said he looked forward to assuming his new role. He noted, "The Physics Department is in excellent shape thanks to Marc Kastner's leadership. We have wonderful opportunities for intellectual excitement following the completion of the Green Center for Physics. I feel very privileged to serve and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and students who make the Physics Department special. I'm also grateful to Tom Greytak for agreeing to serve as Interim Head during my fall semester sabbatical."
Bertschinger received his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1984 and did postdoctoral research at the University of Virginia and the University of California at Berkeley. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and he received the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society. He became a faculty member at MIT in 1986.