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.