Margaret Murnane Wins Boyle Medal

Published: 10-27-2011
Margaret Murnane in her lab at JILA. Credit: Glenn Asakawa, University of Colorado

Fellow Margaret Murnane has been awarded the prestigious RDS Irish Times Boyle Medal for her pioneering work in the field of ultrafast laser and x-ray science.  Murnane, who is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado, co-leads a research laboratory with her husband Henry Kapteyn at JILA. Murnane has spent more than 20 years pushing the development of lasers that can operate at the fundamental limits of speed and stability. In the early 1990s, she designed the first femtosecond laser.  Recently, she developed a tabletop x-ray laser that can generate coherent beams of x-rays. The x-ray laser is a major advance over the light bulb-like x-ray devices currently used in science, medicine, and security.

The Boyle Medal is named after Robert Boyle who is considered to be the "father of chemistry." The Medal is Ireland's premier science award and is awarded biennially by the Royal Dublin Society and The Irish Times. This  year's award celebrates the work of an Irish researcher working outside of Ireland and carries with it a cash prize of 20,000 Euros. Murnane, who is the second woman to win the Medal, was born in Limerick, Ireland, and is a graduate of University College Cork, where she earned B.Sc and M. Sc degrees in physics.