Professor Roukes was founding Director of Caltech's Kavli Nanoscience Institute from 2003-2006, Co-Director from 2008-2013, and has recently stepped down to focus full-time, on collaborative research in neuroscience, nanoscience, and biotechnology.
Professor Roukes completed undergraduate majors in both physics and chemistry at the University of California Santa Cruz, and thereafter earned a Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University, focusing upon electron transport in microstructures at ultralow temperatures. Subsequently, he joined Bell Communications Research as a Member of Technical Staff / Principal Investigator in the (then-new) Quantum Structures Research Group, where he carried out some of the earliest explorations of the physics of nanoelectronic devices. In 1992 he joined the tenured faculty at the California Institute of Technology, where he built nanofabrication facilities and has established a large nanoscience research group, now heavily involved in cross-disciplinary collaborations. Roukes' scientific interests range from fundamental science to applied biotechnology —with a unifying theme centered upon development, application, and very-large-scale-integration of complex nanostructures. He has published and written extensively on nanoscience and nanotechnology, has lectured at most major research centers world-wide, and is active on many national and international committees that promote this field.