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List of candidates to lead Harvard is rich with top scientists

Some of the nation's most prominent scientists, including two Nobel laureates, are in the running to be the next president of Harvard, according to a source familiar with the list of 30 candidates discussed this week.

Science is at the top of Harvard's agenda as it prepares to build a multi billion- dollar compound in Allston that will be heavily focused on stem cell research and other scientific fields.

Thirteen of the approximately 30 candidates were publicly identified earlier this week. Yesterday, a person who has participated in discussions about the search named nine more candidates on the list.

Harvard spokesman John Longbrake declined to confirm the information while the search is ongoing.

Harvard launched the search shortly after Lawrence H. Summers announced his resignation as president in February. Summers left in June.

The latest group of contenders is dominated by scientists: Eric S. Lander , an MIT biology professor and director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a biomedical research center; Thomas R. Cech , president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Steven Chu , a 1997 Nobel laureate in physics, of Stanford University; Harold E. Varmus , a 1989 Nobel laureate for cancer research and the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ; David W. Oxtoby , president of Pomona College and a chemist; and Mary Sue Coleman , president of the University of Michigan and a biochemist.

Also on the list are Richard H. Brodhead , president of Duke University and a former English professor at Yale; Steven Knapp , provost of Johns Hopkins University and a specialist in 18th- and 19th-century English literature; and Nancy Cantor , chancellor of Syracuse University and a professor of psychology and women's studies.

Other contenders for the job, whose names emerged earlier this week, include presidents of several Ivy League universities and three high-ranking Harvard officials, including provost Steven E. Hyman , a neuroscientist.

The search committee is narrowing the list of candidates with plans to select a new president by March, sources have said. Derek Bok, a former Harvard president, is at the helm in the interim.

Bombardieri can be reached at bombardieri@globe.com; Sacchetti can be reached at msacchetti@globe.com.

(Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in Friday's City & Region section about Harvard University's search for a president incorrectly stated that there were two Nobel l aureates among those whose names have surfaced publicly from an internal list of candidates. There were three Nobel l aureates: Howard Hughes Medical Institute President Thomas R. Cech , a 1989 laureate in chemistry; Steven Chu of Stanford University, a 1997 laureate in physics, and Harold E. Varmus, a 1989 laureate for cancer research and president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Also, the story should have noted that last week George Washington University announced that another person on the list, Steven Knapp, provost of Johns Hopkins University, would become its president on Aug. 1.)

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