Robert J. Zimmer became President of the University of Chicago in July 2006, returning to the campus after four years as Provost of Brown University. Before taking that post in July, 2002, he served in a number of administrative positions at the University of Chicago , completing his service there as Vice President for Research and Argonne National Laboratory.
His other positions at Chicago included Department Chair (1991-95), Associate Provost for Research and Education (1995-98), Deputy Provost for Research (1998-2000) and Deputy Provost (2000-01).
As provost at Brown, Zimmer served as the chief academic officer and the institution's leading officer after the president. While there, he helped Brown to increase its investments and stature in faculty distinction and academic programs across the full scope of the university. He played a key role in strengthening Brown's research programs, recruiting outstanding faculty, and enhancing its graduate school and medical school. He also led an effort to enhance substantially Brown's network of academic affiliations with such institutions as the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass. ; the Rhode Island School of Design; the Trinity Repertory Theater Company; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the hospitals affiliated with the Brown Medical School.
A graduate of Brandeis University (A.B., summa cum laude, 1968), Zimmer earned his graduate degrees at Harvard (A.M., mathematics, 1971; Ph.D., mathematics, 1975). He began his academic career as Assistant Professor of mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 and joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1977 as L.E. Dickson Instructor of Mathematics. He advanced to Associate Professor (1979) and Professor (1980), and was named Mason Professor in 1996. He also served as Professor of mathematics at the University of California Berkeley from 1981 to 1983 and held visiting positions or long-term summer appointments at universities in Europe, Australia and Israel.
The author of two books and more than 80 research articles, Zimmer's primary intellectual interests include ergodic theory, Lie groups, discrete subgroups, differential geometry, transformation groups, group representations, foliations and related questions of geometry, group theory and analysis. He has served on the editorial boards of Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, Geometriae Dedicata and Journal of Geometric Analysis, and is series editor of the Chicago Lectures in Mathematics Series.