Caltech president to lead Saudi Arabian university

February 19, 2013

(AP)—California Institute of Technology President Jean-Lou Chameau plans to step down from the top job at the prestigious institute to lead a new Saudi Arabian university.

Caltech announced Chameau's decision in a letter Tuesday, with officials thanking him for his commitment to expanding resources for "high-risk, high-reward research."

In his resignation letter to the community, Chameau said there's historical significance to his new job as president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

With significant resources and a lofty mission, Chameau's new role will have him leading a school poised to "have a dramatic impact on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and the world," he said in a statement Tuesday.

Chameau was provost of the Georgia Institute of Technology before he became Caltech's eighth president in 2006—a role he believed would complete his career, leading to retirement in Pasadena, where Caltech is based.

While at Caltech, Chameau has supported the development of programs in areas of societal impact, including energy, information technology, medical science, and the environment, the school said in a statement.

Caltech is a private research university, known as the academic home of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its highly selective admissions for top students. Caltech's faculty and alumni have won 32 Nobel Prizes.

Located on the Red Sea, the Saudi king's eponymous graduate research university enrolled its first students in 2009 and its first 10 Ph.D. students graduated in Dec. 2012.

In inaugural remarks, the absolute monarch said he'd dreamed of building it for more than 25 years and has pledged perpetual financial support, thanks in no small part to Saudi Arabia's considerable oil wealth.

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1.3 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2013
Oh great! One more way to farm out our technology to a Muslim country. Why don't we just hand them the keys to the country and all bow to Mecca? We already outsource our manufacturing jobs. Now we're giving them our brightest science teachers? The United States has gone crazy, the inmates are running the asylum, and we're doomed...
2 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2013
Well, Muslims just pay better. Welcome in free market society.

If you don't want to give money to Muslim, just invest into cold fusion research and stop buying oil from Arabs. You'll help the life environment - and geopolitical situation of USA too.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2013
Especially "just invest into cold fusion research" or into science as THEY DO. For many years America attracted the most talented people from around the world in exactly the same way. What do you expect after a two decades of budget cuts??? To name Superconducting Super Collider when in the same time Europe invest in LHC, NASA budget reductions when China(!) prepares to build base on the Moon, and finally waiter job to pay tuition fees when KAUST students get more than thousand dollars to buy interesting books and have a time to read them! If you treat most talented people in the country as an excess you will end without them around. Simple. Crisis? Not at all. In the same time a bank can receive dozens billions of dollars although managed by... well not very smart individuals. Taxes distribution was just moved from brilliant ones to greedy fools.

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