"Venky" Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University in 1965. He also has an Honorary Doctorate from Tohoku University. He spent much of his scientific career at Bell Laboratories where he became Director of Solid State Electronics Research in 1981. From 1987–1992, he served as Vice President for Research at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At Sandia, he oversaw a research portfolio of $250 million which spanned its missions in defense, energy, environment, and economic competitiveness. From 1992–1998, he served as Richard Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). During his tenure there, the number of faculty elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in the UCSB College of Engineering grew from three to nineteen. In 2005, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, an endowed chair in his name was established at UCSB. From 1998–2008, he served as Dean of the Division and then School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. At Harvard, he saw the renewal of Engineering and Applied Sciences through a greatly enlarged faculty and the creation in 2007 of the first new school in seventy years. During his tenure as Dean, twenty-two endowed chairs were raised, research funds doubled to approximately $40m, and new linkages with industry were established. During 2003–2006, he was concurrently Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard. Several enhancements to the physical infrastructure including a new 90,000 squarefoot Laboratory for Interface Science and Engineering were undertaken. Narayanamurti has published widely in the areas of low temperature physics, superconductivity, semiconductor physics, electronics, and photonics. He is the author or co-author of more than two hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Narayanamurti is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Over the years, he has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities, national laboratories, and industry. This service has included Chair of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Advisory Committee, Chair of the Committee of Visitors of the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research, Chair of the National Research Council Panel on the Future of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, member of the President's Council for the University of California Managed National Laboratories, and member of the Governing Board of Brookhaven National Laboratory. He currently serves as a trustee for the ARPA-E, U.S. Department of Energy, the Governing Board of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Sandia National Laboratories, as Chair of the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs, the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (CSEPP) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Advisory Committees for Energy Frontier Research Centers at MIT, the University of Michigan, and UCSB. In addition to his duties as professor, Narayanamurti lectures widely on solid state, computer, and communication technologies, and on the management of science, technology and public policy. He was elected to the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was elected Foreign Secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for a 4-year term.

Administrative Coordinator: Karin Vander Schaaf
Tel: 617-496-5584; Email:

Photo by Eliza Grinnell

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2017, 5:21pm



Request Interview


Phone: 617-495-1464

Mailing Address:

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

79 John F. Kennedy St., Mailbox 54

Cambridge, Massachusetts