Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti appointed NAE foreign secretary

Former SEAS dean and director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center to serve four-year term

Former SEAS dean Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti will serve as a four-year term as foreign secretary of the National Academy of Engineering.

Washington, DC, May 17, 2011 – The National Academy of Engineering has elected a new foreign secretary and four members to its governing Council. All terms begin July 1, 2011.

Elected to a four-year term as foreign secretary is Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and director of the science, technology, and public policy program at Harvard Kennedy School.

He succeeds George Bugliarello, president emeritus and institute professor at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Brooklyn, N.Y., who passed away in February.  Bugliarello would have completed two consecutive terms as foreign secretary on June 30, 2011.

Narayanamurti was born in Bangalore, India in 1939. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics (in 1958 and 1960, respectively) from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, one of India's leading institutions in the liberal arts and the sciences.

While there, he was a debater, President of the College Union, and a track and field star—the only physics major on the team. Narayanamurti earned his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1965.

From 1968 to 1987,Narayanamurti worked at the famed AT&T Bell Laboratories, where hebecame head of the Semiconductor Electronics Research Department in1976 and served as Director of the Solid State Electronics ResearchLaboratory from 1981 to 1987. On assignment from Bell Labs, he thenbecame vice president of research and exploratory technology at SandiaNational Laboratories, serving in that role from 1987 to 1992. In 1992he became Richard A. Auhll Professor and dean of the College ofEngineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB),where he served from 1992 to 1998.

Narayanamurti came to Harvard in 1998 to serve as dean of the then Harvard Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He led the transition of the Division into the new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and stepped down as dean in 2008.

He is credited with developing the field of phonon optics: the manipulation of monoenergetic acoustic beams at terahertz frequencies and is currently active in the field of semiconductor nanostructures.

Narayanamurti has served on numerous national and international advisory committees and is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is 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.

He has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, professional societies, national laboratories, and industry. In addition to serving in administrative and research roles, Narayanamurti lectures widely on solid state, computer and communication technologies, and on the management of Science, Technology and Public Policy.

He is married and is the father of three children. His recreational loves are running, squash, and his home on Cape Cod, where he relaxes or finds “shanti” by reading, catching up on research, and listening to music.


The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with NAS the responsibility for advising the federal government. NAE promotes the technological welfare of the nation by marshalling the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession.

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Venkatesh Narayanamurti

Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Physics, Emeritus