Carnegie Science

Eric Isaacs

2021 Circle Speaker 2021

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, Dr. Isaacs leads the Institution’s investigators in forefront research in plant biology, developmental biology, Earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology.

Dr. 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. Dr. Isaacs spent five years as Director of Argonne, one of the nation’s largest science and engineering research centers. As Argonne’s Director, Dr. 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. Dr. 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.