Murnane tapped for chair of presidential committee

By Staff

Margaret Murnane, a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor, has been chosen by President Obama to be chairwoman of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

A CU-Boulder physics professor and fellow of JILA, Murnane’s work focuses on laser physics. She recently was honored with Ireland’s top scientific award, the 2011 Royal Dublin Society Irish Times Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence, which is that country’s version of America's National Medal of Science. The Medal of Science is awarded to scientists and engineers who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. Murnane also is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.

In recognition of her work, she also has been awarded the 2010 R.W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America, the 2010 Schawlow Prize of the American Physical Society, the 2009 Ahmed Zewail Award of the American Chemical Society, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 2000.  She was first appointed to the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science in 2010.  Murnane received her B.S and M.S. from University College Cork, Ireland, and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

President Obama said, “These fine public servants bring both a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles. Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Another appointee to the committee, Judith Kimble, who is the Vilas Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received her Ph.D. from University of Colorado Boulder.