Educating the 21st Century Scientist and Engineer

November 7, 2014
Davis Auditorium
Speaker: Cherry Murray, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University


Looking ahead to the major issues facing civilization in this 21st century and beyond: the need for leaders in the future generations to thoughtfully address some major societal challenges most of which need an understanding of technology, as well as the winds of change battering our great research universities in the United States, it behooves us to reexamine the way we are now providing a science or engineering education to undergraduates.   The next generation of scientists and engineers requires a much more holistic approach to education than that of previous generations.   Engagement with all aspects of a challenging problem, critical thinking skills, working in cross-disciplinary teams and acquiring the eagerness for lifelong learning are more important than an in-depth, rigorous purely disciplinary approach.  I will talk about how we are addressing the changing nature of our engineering and applied science curriculum at Harvard.  

Speaker Bio

Cherry MurrayCherry Murray became Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science and John A. and Elisabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Physics in July, 2009.  As Dean, she manages new faculty recruitment and faculty relations; directs and leads strategic planning; coordinates fundraising and alumni relations; and determines and implements educational, research, and administrative goals for the most recent new School of Harvard.

Previous to that she was Deputy Director and then Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from December 2004. She led the Laboratory's science and technology activities including management of 3500 scientists and engineers and the development of the strategic science and technology plan.

Formerly Senior Vice President for Physical Sciences and Wireless Research at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Dr. Murray first joined Bell Labs as a member of technical staff in 1978.  She received her BS and Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An experimentalist who began her career in light scattering, surface science and soft condensed matter physics and then moved into the management of future telecommunications equipment research and development, she has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds two patents in near-field optical data storage and optical display technology.

Dr. Murray is a member of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has served on more than 80 national and international scientific advisory committees, governing boards and National Research Council panels. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as fellow and Past President of the American Physical Society (APS). She chaired the National Research Council Division of Engineering and Physical Science, served on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and is currently serving on the Department of Energy, Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.

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