Dean’s Welcome

Pablo Debenedetti

Pablo Debenedetti (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As I begin my service, I feel privileged to follow in the footsteps of Princeton’s first dean for research, A.J. Stewart Smith, who provided visionary leadership of the University’s thriving research enterprise.

This issue of Discovery: Research at Princeton is testament to the exhilarating breadth and depth of activities dedicated to the creation of knowledge at the University. The community of natural scientists, humanists, social scientists, mathematicians and engineers, a sampling of whose work is recounted in Discovery’s pages, contributes ideas, inventions and new perspectives through unfettered inquiry, for the greater good of society. By extending the frontiers of what is known, they make us aware of how much we do not know. By formulating new theories, they plant the seeds of tomorrow’s disruptive technologies. Their work enriches us individually as human beings and often has the potential for contributing to the solution of major challenges confronting humanity.

Together with my colleagues in the Office of the Dean for Research, I look forward to serving our research community through continued engagement of students in research, support for the transformation of discoveries into products, and new initiatives and resources to extend our capacity for innovative and transformative research at Princeton.

Pablo Debenedetti
Dean for Research
Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering



A. J. Stewart Smith

A. J. Stewart Smith (Photo by Elle Stark)

Over the six years I have had the honor to serve as Princeton’s first dean for research, it has been the greatest pleasure to build a team that supports our exceptional community of world-class researchers and, with the creation of Discovery, to share with you each year the excitement of their many groundbreaking discoveries. It is a tribute to the strength of Princeton’s faculty that now, in the fourth year of publishing Discovery, it has been easier than ever to fill Discovery’s pages with transformational and innovative results, from unlocking the deepest secrets of the universe, to making advances in quantum computing, to finding smart solutions to rising health care costs, and many more.

It is the character of fundamental research that the greatest advances often pop up completely unexpectedly, and their full intellectual and practical impacts are not realized for decades. We are grateful for the continued long-term generosity and confidence of our governmental, foundation and corporate sponsors, which sustain our programs and allow them to flourish in spite of the recent challenging financial climate.

A.J. Stewart Smith
Vice President for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Class of 1909 Professor of Physics
Dean for Research 2007-13