and Sciences][Stanford University]
Department of Physics

Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Stanley G. Wojcicki Chair in Physics:
First Endowed Chair in Experimental Physics
Honors Beloved Professor

Professor of Physics Stanley Wojcicki retired in August, 2010, after 44 dedicated years at Stanford. His legacy as a scientist and educator will now continue beyond his emeritus status. At a celebratory dinner honoring his career, his daughter Anne Wojcicki, the Co-Founder of 23 and Me, a premier genetic testing service, and her husband, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, announced a $2.5 million gift for the creation of the first endowed chair in experimental physics at Stanford.  As he presented the gift, Sergey said he looked forward to watching the fundamental discoveries the future chair holder would make. 

The professorship also provides an opportunity for teaching as well as discovery. “Dad, we all love science because of you,” Anne shared, standing alongside her two other sisters, Susan and Janet, as they paid tribute to their father. Wojcicki imparted that love of science not only to his daughters but also to thousands of students during his time at Stanford.

In addition to being recognized as an outstanding faculty member, Wojcicki also excelled as a scientist and was elected a Fellow in the American Physical Society in 1971. His research focused on neutrino oscillation—the change from one flavor into another as a neutrino travels through space—and how to measure oscillation mode and parameters.  

Wojcicki has traveled far to reach this culminating moment of his career. He fled from Poland with his mother when he was 12 with only the clothes on his back and eventually studied at Harvard, where he earned his BA. He then chose to do graduate work at UC Berkeley, where he obtained his PhD and met and married his wife Esther. He went on to hold positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and as an NSF Fellow at CERN and Collège de France before joining the Stanford physics faculty in 1966. He served as chair of the Department of Physics from 1982-85 and 2004-2007. During his professional career Wojcicki served in a number of advisory roles both to the US and foreign government funding agencies and to the directors of major high energy physics laboratories. For six years during 1990's he chaired the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel which is the principal advisory group to the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation on particle physics issues. 

"Stan was such an exemplary experimental physicist that it is appropriate that this chair will recognize current and future experimentalists,” said Chair of the Physics Department Patricia Burchat during the dinner. The endowed chair guarantees, in perpetuity, that Stanford can offer full and permanent support to an experimental physicist and to his or her teaching and research. This is such a high priority to the university that the Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, Richard Saller, has allocated generous matching funds from a gift from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation grant. “An endowed chair in physics will help us retain and reward the very best experimentalists and will be a lasting tribute to Stan and his many contributions to Stanford,” Dean Saller explained. 

Blas Cabrera was appointed as the first holder of the Stanley G. Wojcicki Professorship, effective February 8, 2011

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