Brown University researcher appointed College of Science dean

Author: William G. Gilroy


Gregory P. Crawford, currently dean of engineering and professor of physics and engineering at Brown University, has been appointed dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame by Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University's president.

Crawford succeeds Joseph P. Marino, who had served as dean since 2002 and who remains professor of chemistry at Notre Dame.

"Greg Crawford brings unbounded energy, fresh ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit to the College of Science," Father Jenkins said. "He is drawn to the distinctive mission of Notre Dame - the pursuit of truth in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the promotion of science in the service of humanity. I am delighted to welcome him."

Notre Dame Provost Thomas G. Burish, said:

"Greg Crawford is a world renowned scientist whose cutting-edge research on liquid crystals and polymers, nanoscience and photonic materials spans the fields of condensed matter physics, physical chemistry, applied mathematics and biomedical engineering. His creativity and ingenuity in the laboratory are matched by his deep commitment and innovative approaches to education at the undergraduate, graduate and K-through-12 levels."

Crawford, who also was appointed professor of physics, will assume the dean's position July 1, 2008.

"It is a great honor to be selected as the dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame," he said. "I am taking on this new position with great energy and enthusiasm. My enthusiasm is driven by the unique mission and character of Notre Dame, the overwhelming sense of unity of purpose and spirit of camaraderie on campus, the extraordinary caliber of the faculty in the College of Science and the University as a whole, and the ambitious plans of the University leadership. My family and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Notre Dame community."

Before joining the Brown faculty in 1996, Crawford was a member of the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and a postdoctoral research associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. He has served as dean of engineering at Brown since 2006.

Crawford leverages his fundamental research background in liquid crystal and polymer physics and his experimental expertise in optics and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance to study basic properties of materials on the nano- and meso-length scales, including surface ordering in highly confined spaces, frustrated order, and self assembly in soft matter systems. In addition to his basic studies on liquid crystal and polymer materials, his work has far-reaching implications in photonics, nanoscience and technology, displays, and biomedical devices.

Examples of his research include photonic crystals (the optical analog to semiconductors) that are electrically switchable for optical communications; the fabrication and synthesis of novel nanotubes for display and robust composite material applications; and non-invasive optical measurement of hemoglobin in seconds from the conjunctiva (the internal part of the lower eyelid) without a painful, and often expensive, blood test. The created deployment of Crawford's research findings are the foundation for two startup companies – Myomics Inc. and Corum Medical.

Crawford has more than 200 basic and applied research publications, review articles and book chapters, holds 15 U.S. patents, and is a fellow of the Society for Information Display.

His teaching interests include electricity and magnetism, optics, soft condensed matter physics, and science-based and high-technology entrepreneurship at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has been involved in a variety of science outreach activities that benefit the Providence City Schools, Boys and Girls Club, Rhode Island School for the Deaf, Rhode Island Training School for incarcerated children, and the Providence Bridge School for youths at risk.

Crawford earned a bachelors degree in physics and mathematics, a masters degree in physics, and a doctorate in chemical physics at Kent State University.

Crawford and his wife, Renate, are the parents of two daughters, ages 9 and 13.

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on March 04, 2008.