Christopher Murray Receives Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University

Christopher B. Murray, Richard Perry University Professor and professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering, received an honorary doctorate in sustainability from Utrecht University on March 25. The degree was conferred during the celebration to mark the school's 375th anniversary, and Murray was recognized for his work in relation to sustainability, one of the mainstays of the university.

According to Daniël Vanmaekelbergh, professor of condensed matter at Utrecht, Murray caused a stir as a Ph.D. candidate when he developed a method of synthesis to form entirely flawless colloidal nanocrystals at high temperatures. "The article he wrote in 1993 to announce his discovery was very well received and has now been quoted almost four thousand times," says Vanmaekelbergh. Colloidal nanocrystals are miniscule little balls in a liquid that form regular superlattices when the liquid evaporates. According to Vanmaekelbergh, because the force between the balls is a lot weaker than the force between atoms, the crystals and their properties are a lot easier to manipulate. Murray also demonstrated that nanocrystal superlattices could be formed that consist of two different types of nanocrystals (e.g. insulating and metallic). Last year, Vanmaekelbergh and his colleagues at Utrecht University managed to use the Murray method to form the first superlattice consisting of three different nanocolloids.

"To be welcomed into a tradition of 375 years of scholarship would be humbling to anyone, but to me it has an even more special significance because of the outstanding contributions in Colloid science and Nano-Science past and present Utrecht researchers have made," says Murray. "The need to understand and control the interaction of matter and energy at nanometer length scales is bringing together some of the best and brightest minds of this generation. Our work at Penn is inspired by the global imperative to develop technologies for a sustainable future and our research will be accelerated by global that are focused on these these grand challenges."

Murray joined the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 as the Richard Perry University Professor and is one of the distinguished group of Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professors at Penn. PIK is a University-wide initiative, launched in 2005 by Penn President Amy Gutmann, to recruit exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines.

View the Utrecht University press release. To read more about Chris Murray and his research, please visit his faculty profile.