In this Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Eric Isaacs, digital participants had the chance to discuss and ask questions. The interview series provided an intense personal atmosphere, in which high-level guests, speakers and panelists of the Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 focused on their individual research, career paths and experiences. Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversations is supported by Klaus Tschira Stiftung.
Eric D. Isaacs is a condensed matter physicist and the 11th president of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a private, nonprofit research organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. As president of Carnegie Science, Isaacs leads the Institution’s investigators in forefront research in plant biology, developmental biology, Earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology.
Isaacs came to Carnegie from the University of Chicago, where he served as the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and National Laboratories. In that role, he provided direct oversight of Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. He also led the University’s founding-partner relationship with the Giant Magellan Telescope project. He previously served as Provost of the University of Chicago. Isaacs spent five years as Director of Argonne, one of the nation’s largest science and engineering research centers. As Argonne’s Director, Isaacs earned a reputation as a nationally recognized institutional strategist and advocate for scientific research and its importance in driving the U.S. economy. He joined the University and Argonne in 2003 as the founding director of the Center for Nanoscale Materials, where researchers study and create materials at the atomic and molecular scales.
He began his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories, where he went on to serve as director of the semiconductor physics research and materials physics research departments. Isaacs holds a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Beloit College. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the National Academy of Inventors. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 scholarly publications.
As Head of Publishing for the Springer Nature SDG Programme, Nicola is responsible for coordinating the publishing activity across Springer Nature where it relates to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in order to bring research that can contribute to achieving the Goals to the attention of those best placed to implement it. Nicola is passionate about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration for solving complex global problems, and the need for solid research evidence to inform policy and practice.