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Cherry A. Murray Named SEAS Dean


Courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Labs

Cherry a. Murray will be the next dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) dean Michael D. Smith announced this afternoon.

Murray, who begins work at Harvard on July 1, is principal associate director for science and technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which specializes in research and development of national-security science and technology. From 1978 until 2004, she worked at Bell Laboratories, where she was hired as a staff scientist and ended her service as senior vice president for physical sciences and wireless research.

Her research focuses on soft condensed matter and condensed fluids; according to the University news release, she is also

well known for her scientific accomplishments using light scattering, an experimental technique where photons are fired at a target of interest. Scientists can then gather insights into surface physics and photonic behavior by analyzing the spray of photons in various directions from such collisions. 

Murray replaces interim dean Frans Spaepen, Franklin professor of applied physics, who has led SEAS since Venkatesh Narayanamurti stepped down last September after 10 years of service that included overseeing its transition from a division to a full-fledged school within FAS.

Narayanamurti—Armstrong professor of engineering and applied sciences and professor of physics—called Murray's appointment a "tremendous coup" for Harvard. He worked with her at Bell Labs, where he was formerly director of solid-state electronics. "I have known Cherry Murray for many years as a colleague, researcher, and scientific leader," he said in the release. "She has a deep understanding of the interplay between basic and applied research and the role of engineering and applied science as a linking and integrating discipline—rooted in science, focused on discovery and innovation, and connected to the wider world of technology and society."

Murray holds a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also the current president of the American Physical Society.