August 30, 2023

University of Chicago president, nanomaterials pioneer next on tap for Purdue’s Presidential Lecture Series

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Paul Alivisatos, the University of Chicago’s 14th president and a pioneering researcher in the development of nanomaterials, will share the stage with Purdue President Mung Chiang as the next Presidential Lecture Series event.

Chiang and Alivisatos will discuss the state of higher education in America today during the lecture, titled “Navigating the Opportunities at the Intersection of Education, Science and Leadership.” The campus event, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall, is free and open to the public, but a general admission ticket is required. Go here for tickets and more information.

Alivisatos was named president of the University of Chicago in September 2021, becoming only its second graduate to lead the institution in its 130-year history. He also is the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the university’s undergraduate college.

“Universities are places where ideas compete and curious minds gather, brightened by distinguished speakers visiting our campus through conversations provided through our Presidential Lecture Series,” said Purdue President Mung Chiang. “As an outstanding leader in universities and national labs and a brilliant scholar in nanomaterials, President Paul Alivisatos brings an exciting opportunity for conversation on the Purdue campus about higher education in America, economic growth in the Midwest and scientific breakthroughs in his research field.”   

Additional Information

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The University of Chicago in July 2014 established what are now known as the “Chicago Principles,” outlining its “overarching commitment to free, robust and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the university’s community.” Purdue became the second university to back the statement of principles in May 2015 of the more than 100 U.S. colleges that have followed the University of Chicago’s lead.

As a chemist and researcher, Alivisatos is an authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals and their use in biomedical and renewable energy applications. His accomplishments include studies of the scaling laws governing the optical, electrical, structural and thermodynamic properties of nanocrystals. He developed methods to synthesize size- and shape-controlled nanocrystals and developed methods for preparing branched, hollow, nested and segmented nanocrystals. In his research, he has demonstrated key applications of nanocrystals in biological imaging and renewable energy. His current research interests include observation and control of nanocrystals at the level of single atoms and the resulting applications in photonic engines and quantum information systems.

His inventions are widely used in biomedicine and QLED TV displays, and his scientific advances have yielded more than 50 patents. Alivisatos also founded two prominent nanotechnology companies: Nanosys Inc. and Quantum Dot Corp., which is now a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Alivisatos has been recognized for his accomplishments with awards such as the Dan David Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Von Hippel Award of the Materials Research Society, and the Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society. Alivisatos is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Alivisatos received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1981 from the University of Chicago and a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. He began his academic career with UC Berkeley in 1988 and with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991.

About the Presidential Lecture Series

Launched in 2014 by then-Purdue President Mitch Daniels and continued by President Mung Chiang, the Presidential Lecture Series exposes Purdue students and the broader community to inspiring ideas, courageous leadership and models of civic engagement and civil discourse. The Presidential Lecture Series has had over 40 guests of many viewpoints and perspectives and hosted some of the great intellectual, business and civic leaders of our time. As one of the world’s premier centers of scholarly leadership, Purdue is — appropriately and necessarily — a regular venue for great thinkers across a wide variety of disciplines.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at

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