Message From the Dean


Thank you for taking the time to get connected with Northeastern’s College of Science — alumni and friends are key enablers of our past and future success.

Now in our third year, the growth in stature of COS undergraduate programs has been exceptional. Today, the average high school GPA of our enrolled class is an exceptional 4.05, with average SAT scores of 1415.

Each year these incoming metrics have gone up as Northeastern’s reputation grows as the leading institution in the United States for experiential learning.

Of course, what attracts today’s students, and what I think has always attracted our students, is the power of co-op to illuminate and guide one’s education into a rewarding career. As I tell incoming students and their parents when they make the tough choice of which school to attend, co-op helps you find your passion and guide your education before it is too late.

Research is intimately linked with science education. Increasingly, the vast majority of our outstanding students want undergraduate research experience. Some will become researchers, others want to learn how science works in the laboratory or the drawing board so they can understand how science and technology works for careers in business, government, industry, the clinic, or in education.

Our outstanding faculty is key to our research enterprise – they are the scholars who advance knowledge and teach our undergraduates how it is done, and share where the excitement of the future may lie.

We hope that Northeastern’s capital campaign – Empower – will, with your help, provide support for undergraduate research co-ops, Ph.D. fellowships, and faculty endowed chairs that will together advance our research and educational enterprise to the next level.

J. Murray Gibson
Founding Dean
College of Science
Northeastern University


About Dean Gibson

Dr. J. Murray Gibson is the founding dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. The College has 2,700 undergraduates, nearly 600 graduate students, and 181 faculty in six departments.  Northeastern is a top-ranked  private research university which is recognized as a leader in experiential co-operative education.

Born and raised in Scotland, Gibson has held a range of senior academic and research positions. Most recently, he was the Director of the $1.7 billion Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory. Under his direction, APS emerged as the most productive source of protein structures in the world, became the global leader in X-ray studies of materials under extreme conditions, and attained the largest number of users of any scientific facility in the USA.

Gibson earned his BSc in natural philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and his PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge, England. He emigrated to the United States in 1978, beginning a fellowship at IBM Research, followed by 11 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. At Bell Labs, Gibson pioneered the use of advanced electron microscopy techniques to understand the structure/property relationships of semiconductor nanostructures.  He built the first instrument that visualized in-situ—at atomic resolution—the growth of thin films by molecular beam epitaxy. Among several patents, he co-invented a novel approach to semiconductor lithography that led to the development of a spin-off company.

Gibson joined the University of Illinois in 1991, and trained 15 PhD students before joining Argonne in 1999 as the Director of its Materials Science Division. He has published almost 200 journal articles and is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal Microscopical Society.  He has been elected as the 2011 Chair of the Physics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, where he was also elected a fellow. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the Materials Research Society.

For relaxation, Gibson enjoys playing the piano and has lectured on the connection between physics and “the Blues.”