New A.D. White Professors named; fall visits announced

A quantum physicist and an environmental economist have been appointed the newest A.D. White Professors-at-Large.

Michel Devoret, the F.W. Beinecke Professor of Applied Physics at Yale University, and Robert Stavins, M.S. ’80, the A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, will join 17 other distinguished scholars, thinkers and artists serving six-year terms.

Michel Devoret

Robert Stavins

Ellen Rothenberg

Carl Wieman

May Berenbaum

Stephen Quake

Bram Govaerts

In addition, the program has scheduled four full visits by current A.D. White Professors for the fall 2023 semester:

Also during the fall semester, life scientist Bram Govaerts will make a shorter visit Nov. 6-10.

Devoret’s faculty hosts are Valla Fatemi, assistant professor, and Gregory D. Fuchs, associate professor, both in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics, in Cornell Engineering. A member of the Yale faculty since 2002, his contributions in the field of quantum physics include his discovery of superconducting artificial atoms, which set the stage for the development of superconducting qubits (quantum bits), one of the most competitive prospective platforms for quantum computing. Following this discovery, his laboratory has continued to pioneer the physics, both basic and applied, of superconducting circuits for quantum information science and technology.

Devoret, who earned his Ph.D. in solid state physics from University of Paris, Orsay, France, in 1982, has forged creative ways to expand science literacy to the general public. He developed a semester-length course on the intersection of cinema and physics to explore questions of perception and material reality. During his visit, he will collaborate with the Department of Communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Cornell Cinema to showcase these themes within the broader community.

Stavins’ faculty hosts are C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, associate professor, and Bradley J. Rickard, professor, both in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Stavins’ research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, from market-based policy instruments to regulatory impact analysis, innovation and diffusion of pollution-control technologies, and environmental benefit valuation.

He has written and edited numerous research papers and books, and serves on the boards of several academic journals and organizations. Stavins also works closely with public officials on national and international environmental policy. He has been a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences, several U.S. presidential administrations, members of the U.S. Congress, environmental advocacy groups, the World Bank, the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development and more.

Prior to arriving at Harvard, Stavins was a staff economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. Before that, he managed irrigation development in the Middle East and spent four years working in agricultural extension in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. He earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Northwestern University, a master’s in agricultural economics from Cornell and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.

Cornell’s professors-at-large program sponsors outstanding scholars and public intellectuals in the life sciences, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts. Previous professors-at-large include writer and actor John Cleese, primatologist Jane Goodall, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and novelist Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55.

Twice during their terms, professors-at-large visit campus for about a week while classes are in session to interact with students and faculty, and enliven the intellectual and cultural life of the university. The program sponsors six to eight visits per academic year, as well as activities such as public lectures and seminars.

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub