"Bob brings to this important position great judgment of the quality of science, a tremendous sense for the importance of the blending of education and research within MIT, and proven administrative experience," said Provost Robert A. Brown.
"I am looking forward to working with the president, provost and chancellor for the next few years to continue to foster the spirit of excellence set by the School of Science," Professor Silbey said.
Professor Silbey was appointed interim Dean of Science in February when former dean Robert J. Birgeneau resigned to become president of the University of Toronto.
"Bob Silbey is an outstanding faculty member, a world-class researcher and an experienced administrator," said President Charles M. Vest, who also described him as "ideally suited to provide leadership and continuity to the School of Science."
Internationally recognized for his contributions to theoretical chemistry, Professor Silbey has been a professor of chemistry at MIT for 34 years. In 1989 he was appointed the Class of '42 Professor of Chemistry.
Professor Silbey, co-chair of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning, is currently head of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering. He served as head of the Department of Chemistry from 1990-95.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Professor Silbey received a bachelor of science degree from Brooklyn College in 1961, a Ph.D. degree from University of Chicago in 1965 and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin in 1965-66.
Co-author of the textbook Physical Chemistry, Professor Silbey has produced more than 250 research publications.
In recognition of his teaching skills, he was named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 1996. He also has received the School of Science Teaching Award in 1986 and a Graduate Student Council Teaching Award in 1988.
He lives in Boston with his wife Susan.