Oxtoby new Dean of Physical SciencesDavid Oxtoby has been appointed Dean of the Physical Sciences Division, effective Oct. 16. Oxtoby, Professor in Chemistry, has served as Director of the James Franck Institute since 1992.
"The next few years will be an especially important time as we plan for new facilities to replace the Research Institutes. Provost Stone and I are committed to working with David to continue to strengthen the division, building on the strong legacy of Stuart Rice's deanship and the work begun by Peter Vandervoort as Acting Dean," President Sonnenschein said. "The Physical Sciences Division is and must remain a locus of extraordinary intellectual creativity at this university."
Oxtoby is a theoretical chemist who specializes in phase transitions, particularly the crystallization of liquids on an atomic and molecular level. His studies include the formation of particles in the atmosphere and the casting of metals. Known also for his strong commitment to teaching, particularly at the introductory level, Oxtoby was awarded the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1986.
Oxtoby first came to Chicago as a Research Associate in the James Franck Institute in 1975, after receiving his B.A. in 1972 from Harvard and his Ph.D. in 1975 from Berkeley. After spending a year at the Laboratoire des Interactions Moleculaires et des Hautes Pressions in France, he returned to Chicago in 1977 as Assistant Professor in Chemistry and JFI. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1982 and Professor in 1986. From 1984 to 1987, he served as Master of the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division and Associate Dean of the College.
He is the co-author of two introductory textbooks in chemistry, Principles of Modern Chemistry and Chemistry: Science of Change. Among his many honors and awards, Oxtoby has been a Danforth fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellow, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation teacher-scholar and a Guggenheim Foundation fellow.