Andrei Ruckenstein is a Professor of Physics and Former Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, was a member of the Theoretical Physics group at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and held faculty positions in physics at the University of California, San Diego, and Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he was the founding Director of BioMaPS, a university-wide initiative focused on interdisciplinary research in Biology at the Interface with the Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the first Director of the associated BioMaPS graduate program. He also served as Director of the Superconductivity Summer School at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and as President of the Aspen Center for Physics, where he was elected as an honorary lifetime trustee. He is the co-founder of the Aspen Science Center, a non-profit organization promoting K–12 science education and the public understanding of science. He was also Chair of the Executive Committee and founding President of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, a collaboration between Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Cisco Systems, and EMC Corporation. Currently, he serves on the Executive Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation, as a member of the Big Data Organizing Committee for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
Ruckenstein is a theoretical condensed matter physicist by training, whose research interests focused primarily on the study of collective effects in atomic gases at low temperature and the physics of strongly correlated many-body systems, with application to low-dimensional semiconductors, heavy fermions, and non-Fermi liquid behavior and superconductivity of oxide high-temperature superconductors. A decade ago, his research direction shifted from theoretical condensed matter physics to biological physics, an area that would be more appropriately described as “biology from a physicist’s perspective.” His biology research has been focused on understanding the mechanisms governing the behavior of RNA polymerase, the molecular motor that transcribes the genetic information encoded in DNA into RNA. He is the recipient of a Sloan Fellowship, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and a Senior Humboldt Prize, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.