Bio: Dean Ronald J. Stern is a UC Irvine professor of mathematics with a broad background in teaching,
research and administration and an international reputation as a leading scholar in his field. He was
appointed July 1, 1998 to lead the School of Physical Sciences. Stern succeeded Ralph J. Cicerone,
who became UCI’s fourth chancellor. The 54-year-old mathematician leads a school that brought
international attention to UCI in 1995, when Nobel Prizes were awarded to F. Sherwood Rowland in
chemistry and Frederick Reines in physics, making UCI the first public university with faculty receiving
Nobel Prizes in two different fields in the same year.
Before coming to UCI in 1989, Stern was a professor at the University of Utah and a visiting professor
at UCLA and the University of Hawaii. He served as a foreign expert for the Nankai Institute of
Mathematics in Tianjin, China and was a member of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifique Bures-
Sur-Yvette, France and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has been an invited lecturer at
numerous professional meetings and conferences throughout the United States and in many other
countries, most recently China, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland and
Stern, who was the first in his family to receive a college education, earned his bachelor’s degree in
mathematics from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics
from UCLA. He lives in Irvine with his wife, Sharon, who received her Ph.D. in Biology and is an award
winning lecturer in UCI’s School of Social Ecology, and the younger of their two daughters, Melissa, 14.
Jennifer, 27, graduated with honors from Stanford University, her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from
the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.
Research: As dean of physical sciences, Stern oversees a school that includes over 100 faculty, 40 advanced
researchers and 75 post-doctoral scholars who focus and guide the work of over 300 doctoral students
and1,000 majors. The school has four departments: chemistry, earth system science, physics and
astronomy, and mathematics. The school is one of the nation's largest producers of bachelor's degreelevel
graduates, rating 8th nationally in chemistry and 11th in physics.
Research in the school rates among the nation's finest in atmospheric chemistry, organic chemistry,
geoscience, elementary particle physics and astrophysics. Organic chemistry ranks 9th in U.S. News &
World Report graduate school ratings. In 1998, the Institute for Scientific Information cited UCI as the
university with the greatest impact on geoscience research and also ranked UCI in its 'Top 10
Influential Schools of Chemistry,' based on citation impact of papers published. Its researchers play
important roles with international neutrino projects, United Nations environmental surveys and with
providing the scientific information that assists in the drafting of international treaties. Its faculty includes
6 members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Stern is a pioneering researcher who, for the past two decades, has been a leader in the mathematics
that will bring scientists closer to answering the age-old question: What is the global structure of our
space-time universe? While seeking answers to the big, unsolved questions in mathematics, using
sophisticated techniques from analysis, geometry, topology and physics, he has distinguished himself
as an outstanding teacher, earning the UCI School of Physical Sciences Undergraduate Teaching
Award in 1995 and the University of Utah Distinguished Teacher Award in 1987.
Stern, was honored as an invited speaker at the 1998 International Congress of Mathematicians and
was chair of the UCI Department of Mathematics from 1989-1993. He serves on numerous professional
and foundation panels and committees, is an editor of several mathematical journals, and is the
President and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics. He has led a
number of outreach efforts designed to improve mathematics education including the new statewide
COSMOS program designed to provide a summer residential science program for the most gifted high