Margaret Mary Murnane (born 1959) is an Irish physicist. A professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1999, her interests are in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, and nanoscience. Her work with lasers has earned her multiple awards including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship award in 2000.
Born and raised in County Limerick, Ireland, Murnane became interested in physics through her father who was a primary school teacher. She received her B.A. and B.S. from University College, Cork. She moved to the United States to study at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her Ph.D in 1989. She is married to physics professor Henry Kapteyn. They work together and operate their own lab at JILA at the University of Colorado.
Murnane has written or co-written approximately 130 publications in peer reviewed journals, with an average of 42 citations per paper. She built a laser that flashed for ten quadrillionths of a second - the fastest that any human being has ever created. In their lab, Murnane, Kapteyn, and their students make lasers whose beams flash like a strobe light - except that each flash is a trillion times faster. These lasers, like camera flashes, shine a light that lets them record the motions of atoms in chemical reactions. Some of her lasers can generate pulses of less than 12 femtoseconds.
- 2016 Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden
- 2015 Fellow of the American Philosophical Society
- 2011 Boyle Medal
- 2007 Fellow of the Association for Women in Science
- 2006 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award, University College Cork (Ireland)
- 2004 Member of the National Academy of Sciences
- 2003 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- 2003 Richtmyer Memorial Award Lecturer of the American Association of Physics Teachers
- 2001 Fellow of the American Physical Society
- 2001 Loeb Lecturer, Harvard University
- 2000 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow
- 1998 Fellow of the Optical Society of America
- 1997 Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award of the American Physical Society
- 1993 Presidential Faculty Fellowship of the National Science Foundation
- 1992 Sloan Foundation Fellowship
- 1991 Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation
- 1990 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award of the American Physical Society
- 1989 University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship
- 1984 Regents Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley
- 1983 University Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley
- 1983 Pfizer Postgraduate Scholarship, Pfizer Chemical, Ireland
- 1977-1981 College Scholarship, University College Cork, Ireland
- "Murnane, Margaret M.". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "1990 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "1997 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Davis, T. H. (2006). "Profile of Margaret M. Murnane". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (36): 13276–13278. Bibcode:2006PNAS..10313276D. doi:10.1073/pnas.0606322103. PMC 1569154. PMID 16938855.
- "Swift laser specifications". KM Labs. Retrieved 12 Mar 2012.
- "Three new honorary doctorates in Science and Technology - Uppsala University, Sweden". www.uu.se. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- "CU Professor Margaret Murnane Honored By National Women's Science Organization". University of Colorado at Boulder. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter M" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 16 April 2011.