Photo of Cherry A. Murray

Cherry A. Murray

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Communications

For contributions to the advancement of devices for telecommunications, the use of light for studying matter, and for leadership in the development of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce in the United States.

Cherry Murray on what sparked her interest in chemistry

As a child, Cherry A. Murray thought she would grow up to become an artist like her parents. But, as the years passed, she found her creativity could reach beyond the canvas and into the lab.

Murray, director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, is well-known for her scientific accomplishments in light scattering, an experimental technique where protons are fired at a target of interest as a way to give scientists insight into surface physics and phototonic behaviors. Her work has also been integral to research related to condensed-matter physics and complex fluids.

A celebrated experimentalist, her work has been relevant in the development of drug delivery systems and lab-on-a-chip devices, as well as quantum optics, engineered semiconductors and tools like optical tweezers.

Outside of the lab, Murray, who is also a professor of engineering, applied sciences and physics and a former administrator at Harvard University, has been active in the academic and scientific communities. She joined the Harvard faculty in 2009, following a career as an executive at the famed Bell Laboratories and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Meanwhile, she’s also held memberships in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and she’s served on more than 80 national and international scientific advisory committees, governing boards and panels.

By Sydni Dunn