Helio Takai

Dr. Helio Takai, a physicist, author, scholar, researcher, and educator, has been named Chair of the Mathematics and Science Department within the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Pratt Institute. He will assume the role on July 1, 2018, succeeding current Chair Carole Sirovich, who is stepping back into the faculty after 18 years as chair.

Takai comes to Pratt from Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he has been a physicist since 1989. He has served as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, and as an assistant professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Takai’s field of research has been in nuclear and elementary particle physics. He has interests in basic sciences and instrumentation development, as well as in education and outreach—including founding programs and initiatives such as the Brookhaven National Laboratory QuarkNet center in order to introduce particle physics and new educational material to physics teachers. In addition, he has developed instrumentation for radiation detection, data acquisition systems, and analysis software.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Takai to Pratt. His professional expertise, coupled with extensive experience in education and outreach, will be invaluable to students from all disciplines in exploring science as well as its many intersections with the arts,” said Andrew W. Barnes, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

As  Mathematics and Science Chair, Takai will lead a department that serves students from across the Institute and is composed of 28 faculty, including recipients of awards from renowned professional organizations and foundations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the National Science Foundation. He will oversee the department’s programs, which acquaint students with scientific methodologies and critical thinking, and address the interface between science and art, architecture, and design.

“Joining Pratt as Chair of Mathematics and Sciences is a wonderful and exciting opportunity,” said Takai. “I look forward to working together with the faculty to further explore the use of science in the study of the arts, as well as the possibility of introducing new science teaching methods to stimulate creativity and innovation for the Institute’s talented students.”

Takai holds a Ph.D in Nuclear Physics from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and a B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Nuclear Physics from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.

Photo by Roger Stoutenburgh, Brookhaven National Laboratory