President Rosenbaum's Speeches and Messages

Address at the Caltech Campaign Gala

April 29, 2016
What a spectacular gathering here to celebrate the commitment, the generosity of our friends, our colleagues. Thank you for joining us this evening. I wanted to start with a quote from the great mathematician and theoretical physicist Henri Poinclaré:

"Science is built up with facts, as a house is built with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house."

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Interview with Times Higher Education

June 23, 2016
We can do things because of our small size that other places can't…the major advantage [we have is] the interactions between people. We have a culture that emphasises people asking big questions, talking to each other about it, being unintimidated by disciplinary boundaries.

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Academic Year-End Message

June 13, 2016
June is a natural time to think of transitions. Newly minted Caltech graduates flow from Pasadena across academia, industry, and society, fearless if not yet confident about solving problems that matter. On the horizon is a new retinue of enthusiastic young people, ready to reinvigorate the spirit of the Institute and remind us of why we choose to be part of the academic enterprise.  We transition from the classroom to SURF and savor uninterrupted time for research.

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Address at Ripples in Spacetime: Our New Window on the Universe

February 23, 2016

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin wrote to Peter Collinson of the Royal Society and described his famous experiment in Letter XI of Observations on Electricity:

"As soon as any of the thunder clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose filaments of the twine will stand out every way, and be attracted by an approaching finger. And when the rain has wet the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the phial may be charged; and from electric fire thus obtained, spirits may be kindled, and all the other electric experiments may be performed…"

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Year-End Message

December 7, 2015
As the new year approaches, it is a time to celebrate the special ways that our students, faculty, and staff contribute to knowledge and to society by doing what we do best: challenging the accepted wisdom, rigorously analyzing problems, and devising innovative solutions. It is also a propitious time to reflect on our values as an intellectual community in the context of the national conversation about diversity, inclusion, and freedom of expression.

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Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Graduate Commencement

March 21, 2015

It is a great pleasure to join you here today. I am honored to accept an honorary doctorate and in so doing reinforce my personal and professional ties to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a formidable center of learning in one of the world's great cities.

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Thank You

December 11, 2014
It has been an exhilarating first few months at the Institute and I am deeply grateful for your generous welcome. There is indeed only one Caltech! As the late President Murph Goldberger aptly observed when asked to explain Caltech's distinction:

"If any single factor can be called responsible for this. . . . it is Caltech's absolute unwillingness to compromise on excellence: excellence of faculty, excellence of students, excellence of facilities."

Op-Ed for SFGate

November 12, 2014
From our perspectives in the world of private research universities, we have been watching with mounting alarm the general disinvestment by states in public higher education. This is painfully true in California, and we are especially concerned about the impact on the University of California and what it bodes for our state's future.

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President Rosenbaum's Inaugural Address

October 24, 2014
…This inauguration ceremony provides an occasion for us as a community to stand outside the hurly burly of everyday life and to connect to the values that animate this glorious Institute. It is a time to ensure that Caltech's fundamental identity comes from within and that it is never imposed from without. It is an opportunity for us to distill the hard-won experience of the past so that we may create a sense of magic and wholeness for the future.

The California Institute of Technology is one of a select few institutions in the world devoted to unraveling the mysteries of the universe, to creating knowledge for the ages. Although these most basic of pursuits can seem esoteric in a torn world, in the aftermath of the nihilism and pressing immediacy of a 9/11, it informs our identity as human beings…

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