After months of searching, President Simmons has chosen University of Chicago mathematician and administrator Robert J. Zimmer to be her provost. As the University's chief academic officer and second-in-command, Zimmer will be key to defining and implementing the president's broad plans for Brown. He will oversee academic programs, faculty hiring and promotions, the libraries, and computing resources - all areas Simmons has targeted for major infusions of cash and personnel over the next few years.

Zimmer leaves his position at the University of Chicago as vice president for research and for Argonne National Laboratory, one of the nation's premier research labs. He also serves as the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics. In announcing his appointment, Simmons, who headed a nine-member search committee, described Zimmer as "a candidate of unusual intelligence, whose interests and talents match Brown's academic culture and aspirations." She pointed out that his "experience as a distinguished faculty member, innovative research leader, and strong exponent of excellence in graduate and undergraduate education will be particularly valuable as Brown considers significant investments in its faculty and academic programs."

After earning an undergraduate degree from Brandeis and graduate degrees from Harvard, Zimmer began his academic career at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975. He moved to the University of Chicago in 1977 and has remained there since, leaving only for two years at UC Berkeley and for brief visiting stints at universities in Europe, Australia, and Israel.

He begins his new position July 15.