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Science  19 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5909, pp. 1765
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5909.1765b

A HUMBLE START. The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria has named a computer scientist with global work experience as its first president. Thomas Henzinger of the école Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland will take the helm of the new graduate school on the outskirts of Vienna in September 2009.

Henzinger, 46, grew up in Austria but spent most of his career in the United States before joining EPFL in 2004. Henzinger says IST will start small, with about a dozen faculty appointments, “so we shouldn't have any illusions of immediate grandeur.” But the ability to have “a biologist sitting next to a computer scientist next to a physicist” should encourage creative collaborations, he says.

The presidential search was initially a source of embarrassment for the school after its first announced choice, neuroscientist Tobias Bonhoeffer, decided not to accept the job, citing personal reasons (Science, 25 July, p. 471). Henzinger sees the job as an opportunity he couldn't pass up: “The institute is really starting from scratch. Such things happen once in a lifetime, if ever.”

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