Trinity College Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Mathematical physicist Arlie Petters is associate vice provost for undergraduate education and the Trinity College Dean of Academic Affairs. He also holds Trinity College appointments as professor of mathematics and physics and an appointment at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business as a professor of business administration. A native of Belize who moved to New York as a teenager, he knows first hand the challenges of being an international student. He was also the first in his family to attend college. Through his research, Petters has pioneered applications of gravitational lensing in physics, predicting effects that probe the nature of space-time around black holes and developing tests for theories of gravity such as Einstein's general relativity. He earned a B.A. and an M.A. in mathematics and physics from Hunter College in New York, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Petters has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1998, held a Bass chair from 1998-2003. Before coming to Duke, Petters served on the faculty at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An author and award-winning researcher, in 2006, the National Academy of Sciences inducted him into its Portrait Collection of Distinguished African American Scientists. At Duke, he served as a faculty in residence for six years at Duke, in the Wilson and Bassett dorms. He says he has enjoyed learning about the intellectual journeys of the students, and watching them mature during their first year in college was inspiring. He has also been a pre-major adviser, directed many undergraduate senior thesis’ projects, and been the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Mathematics. He previously directed Duke’s Reginaldo Howard Scholars program.