Board approves seven faculty appointments

The Princeton University Board of Trustees has approved the appointments of seven faculty members, including two full professors and five assistant professors. The trustees also revised the appointment of Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies Liora Halperin to be effective July 1, 2012, rather than Sept. 1.


Amitava Bhattacharjee, in astrophysical sciences, joined the faculty effective Aug. 27, 2012, from the University of New Hampshire, where he has been a faculty member since 2003. He previously served as a research fellow at the University of Texas-Austin and taught at Columbia University and the University of Iowa. Bhattacharjee's research focuses on theoretical plasma physics, and his research interests and publications cover magnetic reconnection, turbulence and singularity formation, kinetic theory, free-electron lasers and complex plasmas.

He holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, master's degrees from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from Princeton.

Mihalis Dafermos, in mathematics, will join the faculty on Jan. 1, 2013, from the University of Cambridge, where he has taught since 2004. Previously, he was an instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dafermos specializes in partial general relativity and mathematical physics. His publications include numerous papers on the formation and stability of black holes. Dafermos received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Princeton.

Assistant professor

The following appointments are for three-year terms:

Emmanuel Abbe, in electrical engineering and applied and computational mathematics, began his term Sept. 1, 2012. Abbe specializes in information theory, and he previously was a postdoctoral fellow at Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Simone Giombi, in physics, joined the faculty on Sept. 1, 2012. Formerly a postdoctoral fellow at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Giombi's research focuses on high energy theory. He received his B.S. from the University of Bologna and his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. He previously was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard.

Michael Mueller, in mechanical and aerospace engineering, began his term on Sept. 1, 2012. A specialist in thermal sciences, Mueller received his B.S. from the University of Texas-Austin and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Arvind Narayanan, in computer science, joined the faculty on Sept. 1, 2012. Narayanan's fields of specialization are systems and security, and his previous position was as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas-Austin.

Bridgett vonHoldt, in ecology and evolutionary biology, will begin her term on July 1, 2013. A specialist in evolutionary biology, vonHoldt is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Los Angeles, where she earned her Ph.D. She received her bachelor's degree from Eckerd College and her master's degree from New York University.