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On July 1, 2015, Doug Rees, the Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry, will begin serving as the new dean of graduate studies at Caltech.
“Doug’s experience and concern with graduate education make him an ideal choice for dean of graduate studies. I am very pleased that he is willing to make this commitment to the Institute and its students,” says Anneila Sargent, vice president for student affairs and the Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy.
As the new dean, Rees will be the principal administrator and representative of Caltech’s graduate education program, responsible for attending to concerns regarding the welfare of graduate students as well as for upholding the Institute’s rules and policies.
“There are many groups essential to the effective operation of our graduate program that I want to get to know better, starting with the graduate students, the Graduate Office staff, and the option administrators and option reps,” says Rees. “In my 26 years at Caltech, I’ve gained an appreciation for how the graduate programs in biochemistry and molecular biophysics and in chemistry operate, but the cultures in different options across campus can vary significantly, and I look forward to better understanding these distinctions.”
Rees says that he is also very much looking forward to working directly with graduate students, staff, and faculty on behalf of the graduate program. Of particular interest during his tenure will be issues relating to the well-being and professional development of graduate students.
“I find research to be an adventure that, while exhilarating, is also challenging, frustrating, and even stressful; those aspects, however, are not incompatible with having a positive student experience and a supportive environment,” Rees says. He adds that his priorities will be to raise fellowship support, increase the diversity of the graduate student body, and ensure that students have access to appropriate support services such as health care, counseling, and day care. “In addition, I also hope to be able to explore mechanisms to better prepare students for life after Caltech, including both academic and nonacademic career options,” he says.
In his new post, Rees will take the place of C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering Joseph Shepherd, who has served as the dean of graduate studies since 2009. “Joe leaves big shoes to fill and the campus owes him a huge debt of gratitude for all he has accomplished as dean of graduate studies. What I have learned from watching him in action over the past six years, and more recently as he has been helping me during this transition period, is that the most important quality for the dean is to care about the students—and I will definitely be working to follow his example,” Rees says.
Rees received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1974 and his PhD from Harvard in 1980, becoming a professor at Caltech in 1989. An investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rees also served as the executive officer for chemistry from 2002 to 2006 and the executive officer for biochemistry and molecular biophysics from 2007 to 2015.
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Hiroo Kanamori, Caltech’s John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, was awarded the Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal by the American Geosciences Institute at the 2015 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Convention and Exposition. The medal recognizes “scientific achievements and service to the Earth sciences having lasting, historic value.”
Kanamori is perhaps best known for developing the moment-magnitude scale, which assigns a magnitude to an earthquake based on the amount of energy it releases and which has replaced the Gutenberg-Richter scale for scientific purposes. His research into the genesis and propagation of a diversity of earthquake types, including slow tsunami earthquakes, megathrust earthquakes, outer-rise earthquakes, and intraplate earthquakes, has helped develop hazard-mitigation plans and real-time early-warning methods.
Kanamori earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Tokyo (BS ’59, MS ’61, PhD ’64) before coming to Caltech as a postdoctoral researcher in 1965. After stints at MIT and the University of Tokyo, he returned to Caltech as a full professor in 1972 and became the Smits Professor of Geophysics in 1989. He served as the director of Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory from 1990 until 1998 and became the Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, in 2005.
Kanamori is also a foreign associate of National Academy of Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s Walter H. Bucher Medal and William Bowie Medal and the Inamori Foundation’s Kyoto Prize, and he has been declared a member of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star, by the government of Japan.
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