Robert Jaffe, Ph.D.

Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics

Massachussetts Institute of Technology






Robert L. Jaffe is the Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics at MIT.  A world renowned researcher and teacher, Professor Jaffe is best known for his research on the quark substructure of matter and on the quantum structure of the vacuum.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS and the American Physical Society (APS), where he chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA).  In 2010 – 2011 Professor Jaffe chaired a study Energy Critical Elements:  Securing Materials for Emerging Technologies, jointly sponsored by the APS and the Materials Research Society.

At MIT Jaffe has served as Chair of the Faculty and as Director of the Center for Theoretical Physics.   Jaffe led the Center for Theoretical Physics through a major renovation and expansion during the period 1998 — 2004. Professor Jaffe has led many university and laboratory advisory committees including the Science and Technology Steering Committee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, which he chaired from 2005 to 2008, the Advisory Council of the Physics Department at Princeton University, which he chaired for many years and, most recently, the Lahore (Pakistan) University of Management Science School of Science and Engineering External Advisory Committee, which he chaired during the school’s formative years.

Professor Jaffe received his undergraduate education at Princeton, where he graduated summa cum laude and Valedictorian of the Class of 1968.  He received his MS and PhD from Stanford in 1971 and 1972, respectively.  After brief postdoctoral positions at Stanford and MIT, Jaffe joined the MIT Faculty in 1974. He has held visiting appointments at Harvard, Oxford and Boston universities, and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory,  and the European Center for Nuclear Research.   In 2004 Jaffe was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center at Bellagio, Italy.

Recently Professor Jaffe and his colleague, Professor Washington Taylor, have developed a new course at MIT on the Physics of Energy, which explores the fundamental laws governing the origins, harvesting, use, and storage of energy.  In addition to his new energy course Jaffe developed a new undergraduate curriculum in quantum mechanics and numerous other teaching innovations at MIT.  He has received many awards for his contributions to teaching and educational innovation at MIT culminating in being named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 1998.