New president; truncated tetrahedrons FTW; commencement speaker

April 9, 2024

Reading time min

Loop logo

Stanford’s 13th president has been selected.

Jonathan Levin, ’94, dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business for eight years, will be the university’s next president, beginning August 1. “Jon brings a rare combination of qualities: a deep understanding and love of Stanford, an impressive track record of academic and leadership success, the analytical prowess to tackle complex strategic issues, and a collaborative and optimistic working style,” said Board of Trustees chair Jerry Yang, ’90, MS ’90. “He is consistently described by those who know him as principled, humble, authentic, thoughtful, and inspiring. We are excited about Stanford’s future under Jon’s leadership.”

Levin is widely recognized for his scholarship in industrial organization and market design. His research has spanned topics ranging from incentive contracts to game theory to e-commerce, consumer lending, and health care competition. He double-majored in English and math on the Farm before earning an MPhil in economics from Oxford University and a PhD in economics from MIT. “When I was an undergraduate, Stanford opened my mind, nurtured my love for math and literature, and inspired me to pursue an academic career,” Levin told the Stanford Report. “As I look to Stanford’s future, I’m excited to strengthen our commitment to academic excellence and freedom; to foster the principles of openness, curiosity, and mutual respect; and to lead our faculty and students as they advance knowledge and seek to contribute in meaningful ways to the world.”

Flipping awesome.

Next week, the men’s gymnastics team will compete for its fifth consecutive NCAA championship. While the sport has been declining at the NCAA level (there are 15 teams in 2024, down from more than 200 five decades ago), Stanford’s troupe has become a pipeline for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Head coach Thom Glielmi has fine-tuned the Cardinal’s training process over his 22 years at Stanford, but magic only happens when the entire squad puts the team above the individual—which is not a simple feat. “Gymnasts are like feral cats,” Glielmi told Stanford magazine. “They’re very independent.” If they bring home a win next week, they’ll make Glielmi the first coach of any Cardinal men’s team to win five straight NCAA titles. It’s a lot of pressure, but they’re a powerful posse. (Seriously powerful. Let’s go to the video.) “The way it has come together as a real team in the past six or so years—it’s very rare,” said Glielmi.

Making a splash.

Women’s artistic swim team in the pool Photo courtesy: Scott Gould/ISI Photos

Last month, the members of the women’s artistic swimming team flamingoed, side fishtailed, and back tuck somersaulted their way to a national title in the team event at the USA Artistic Swimming Collegiate National Championships (and a second-place finish overall). It’s the second team gold in a row.

Making moves.

More people than ever—about 281 million—are living outside of the country of their birth, and the reasons are harder than ever to categorize. “The drivers for migration are becoming increasingly blurred,” says Jessica Sadye Wolff, program director at Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab and manager of the King Center on Global Development’s Migration and Development Initiative. “It’s a lot harder to say: This person is fleeing conflict; this person is looking for economic opportunity; this person was flooded out.” King Center researchers strive to provide data on the kind of migration that doesn’t dominate headlines. A deeper understanding of migration dynamics can help nations effectively address its complexities.

It’s a curious thing. 

There’s a new shape in town: the Archimedean truncated tetrahedron (ATT), which is essentially a triangular pyramid with the pointy top lopped off. ATTs were long theorized to be a highly desirable geometry for producing phase-changing materials, but they were difficult to produce. Now, Stanford engineers have 3D nanoprinted ATTs, opening the possibility of, say, solar panels that can maximize efficiency over the course of a day, or new types of computer memory. Future materials made of these particles could be rearranged rapidly using magnetic fields, electric current, or, one must assume, the power of love.

But wait, there’s more.

Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Pivotal Ventures, will deliver the 2024 Commencement address on June 16. “Melinda’s unique insights will encourage our graduates to center human values as they leave Stanford to forge their own paths,” said university president Richard Saller.

About 25 percent of kids live with chronic pain, whether from headaches, a lingering injury, or an illness. Laura Simons, a professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, discusses on The Future of Everything podcast how nonpharmaceutical interventions like behavioral and occupational therapy are helping kids cope with and overcome debilitating pain.

Student tour guides know all the fun facts about Stanford’s campusHere are some of their favorites.

Arthur Barnes, DMA ’65, a jazz pianist, composer, and the director of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band for 34 years, died February 5. Responsible for Band classics like “All Right Now” and the Farm’s unique rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Barnes arranged more than 300 pieces for LSJUMB.

If you didn’t catch the total solar eclipse, the next one visible in the U.S. will be in 2044. In the meantime, tide yourself over with some fun eclipse facts, like: Our moon is drifting away from us at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. (Separation anxiety, anyone?) In 316 million years, we won’t have total solar eclipses.

There’s no way you missed the recent earthquake on the East Coast. Quit giggling and put your research face on. Paul Segall, PhD ’81, a professor of geophysics, says quakes tend to be felt over greater distances on the East Coast. The rock under the Earth’s surface there is colder, older, and less absorbent than on the West Coast.

Note: The Loop sometimes links to articles outside of Stanford that may require a subscription to view.

You May Also Like

© Stanford University. Stanford, California 94305.