Julio Ottino, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been appointed dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, effective March 28, it was announced Tuesday by Provost Lawrence B. Dumas.
“Ottino is a person of international reputation who has had tremendous impact upon both his profession and our University,” Dumas said. “President Bienen and I are confident that his energy, creativity, vision and leadership, along with the efforts of the entire McCormick community, will help ensure that the McCormick School continues its progress toward an undisputed leadership position in engineering research and education.”
Ottino, who joined the Northwestern faculty in 1991, has achieved distinction as a researcher and as an administrator.
A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1997 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2003, he has been widely recognized here and abroad for his research in the dynamics of fluids and granular matter. His work has appeared in cover-articles of such journals as Nature, Science, Scientific American, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ottino served as chair of the department of chemical engineering from 1992-2000. As a member of the 1998 and 2004 committees which helped fashion The Highest Order of Excellence I and II, he has been centrally involved in the University’s strategic planning. He served as co-chair of an ad hoc group established by President Bienen to recommend future directions for the Basic Industry Research Laboratory (BIRL). Most recently, he has been instrumental in the creation of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, of which he is currently co-director. He will step down from this leadership role no later than Sept. 1.
Born in Argentina, Ottino pursued undergraduate studies there before enrolling in the University of Minnesota, where he received his PhD. He has served on the faculty at Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts and has held visiting chaired positions at the California Institute of Technology, Stanford, and Minnesota. Ottino has been associate editor of several professional journals, senior consultant to major multinational companies, and a member of numerous advisory boards, the most recent being the government-sponsored International Review of Engineering in the United Kingdom.
Ottino is the author of more than 150 research publications and has supervised the doctoral research of 30 students. His 1989 book “Kinematics of Mixing: Stretching, Chaos, and Transport” is acknowledged as a classic in the field and has been reprinted several times, most recently last year. Recognition of Ottino’s work includes the Alpha Chi Sigma and William H. Walker awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, appointment as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer, and invitations to deliver named lectures at leading universities here and abroad.
Bienen and Dumas expressed their appreciation to the screening committee, chaired by Professor William White, for bringing them an extraordinarily strong group of prospects for the position, and to Joseph Schofer, who has served as interim dean of McCormick.