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By David Voss
Theoretical physicist Jonathan Bagger, Director of the TRIUMF laboratory in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been selected to succeed Kate Kirby as APS CEO in 2021. His appointment was unanimously approved by the APS Board of Directors in June, following a recommendation from the CEO Search Committee. Kirby will retire from the top staff position at the end of this year.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next CEO of APS,” said Bagger. “This is a critical moment for physics. I look forward to working with the Board and Council to ensure that APS faithfully represents the interests of its members while continuing to build a broad and inclusive community to address the world’s most pressing challenges.”
APS President Philip Bucksbaum highlighted Bagger’s stewardship of TRIUMF over the past six years. “Jon Bagger is a distinguished physicist and an exceptional leader,” said Bucksbaum. “He has managed TRIUMF through years of transition and growth, and has had great success in positioning the laboratory for a bright and vibrant future.”
“I am delighted and excited that Jonathan Bagger has accepted our invitation to be the next CEO of the APS,” added APS Past President David Gross, who chaired the CEO Search Committee. “Jon’s extensive experience in scientific management and his deep commitment to the APS and to its mission will serve the society well in these tumultuous times.”
The members of the CEO Search Committee were: 2019 APS President David Gross (chair), 2020 Speaker of the Council Andrea Liu, 2011 APS President Barry Barish, 2015-2016 APS Committee on Minorities Chair Nadya Mason, 2016-2018 APS Board Member Nick Bigelow, 2020 APS President Phil Bucksbaum, and 2018 Speaker of the Council Tim Gay.
Bagger has been Director of TRIUMF since 2014. The Canadian particle accelerator lab has a staff of more than 500 and, before the pandemic, served 1,200 users from over 40 countries each year. In addition to being an APS Fellow, Bagger has had a long relationship with the Society, serving on the editorial board of Physical Review Letters and as an Associate Editor for Physical Review D, on the APS Council and Executive Board, as a member of numerous APS committees, and most recently as chair of the APS Task Force on Expanding International Engagement.
As part of his deep commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, he reshaped TRIUMF’s hiring practices and established the laboratory’s Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He stated that “an inclusive workforce is essential to the future of physics – it enriches our science and engages the broader community, to the benefit of all.” Bagger also believes that APS and its members must continue to speak out in support of the US scientific enterprise. He said he is “proud to join an organization that stands up for science and the values we hold dear.”
Following receipt of his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Bagger was awarded master’s degrees from Cambridge University and Princeton University. He completed his PhD thesis under the supervision of Edward Witten at Princeton.
Prior to taking the directorship at TRIUMF, Bagger was Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, serving as chair of the department, vice-provost, and interim senior vice president for academic affairs. He is currently Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia and Research Professor at Johns Hopkins.
“I am absolutely delighted with the appointment of Jonathan as the next APS CEO,” said Kate Kirby. “Jon and I have already had some good conversations and together we are planning for a very smooth and seamless transition.”
For more on APS Governance, visit the Governance page.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondents: Sophia Chen, Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik