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Bloxham Named Dean of Physical Sciences

By Katherine M. Gray, Crimson Staff Writer

Jeremy Bloxham—the chair of the Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) department—will take over as divisional dean of physical sciences, effective immediately, interim Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced yesterday.

Bloxham will replace Venkatesh “Venky” Narayanamurti, who has served as the first physical sciences dean since 2003. Venky will continue to serve as dean of the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences (DEAS), which is set to become its own school under a proposal that will be voted on by the FAS this fall.

As divisional dean, Bloxham will manage financial and space resources as well as academic planning within and between departments. He will advise Knowles on the distribution of faculty positions and will be in charge of the Astronomy, EPS, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics departments.

Venky wrote in an e-mail yesterday that he was “delighted” with the appointment of Bloxham, who is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics.

“He has broad interests across the physical science disciplines. I expect to work closely with him to further enhance ties between DEAS and the Physical Sciences,” Venky wrote.

Bloxham could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

According to the Registrar’s website, he is slated to be on leave for the upcoming academic year.

“My goal is to ensure—most especially for department chairs and their departmental colleagues—a smooth and rapid responsiveness, and timely help with faculty searches and faculty recruitment,” Knowles wrote in his statement.

After receiving a B.A. and a M.A. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in geophysics—all from the University of Cambridge—Bloxham became an assistant professor at Harvard in 1987. He was granted tenure in 1993 and became the chair of EPS in 2005. He was named a Harvard College Professor in 2002.

Bloxham’s research has focused on how planets create magnetic fields and comparing the different fields around Earth, Mercury, Uranus and Neptune. He also studies high-performance computing and visualization applications in geophysics.

—Staff writer Katherine M. Gray can be reached at

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