Robert Zimmer

AGE: 64
OCCUPATION: President, University of Chicago

A renowned mathematician with connections to the White House (Obama named him to the National Science Board last April), the erudite Zimmer oversees a $3 billion budget at the Midwest’s most prestigious university. But his reach extends beyond academics: He sits on the governing boards of Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab, and he’s ushering through a revitalization of Hyde Park, which in 2013 will get an 80,000-square-foot retail complex, a 12-story office tower, and a Hyatt Hotel.

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Photograph: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune