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Professor J. Murray Gibson is a well-known personality at the BEYA STEM Conference. He served as the dean of the joint engineering college of Florida A&M University and Florida State University from 2016 until he stepped down in December 2021 to return to teaching.

During his tenure as academic dean, the college witnessed impressive growth, thanks to the strong support of both universities and the State of Florida University System.

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Last week, JEOL, a world leader in developing and manufacturing Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM) for life sciences and material sciences, highlighted that Dr. Gibson was an early collaborator of 2023 Nobel Prize winner Lou Brus.

In 1984, Dr. Gibson, who is now a mechanical engineering professor at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, used JEOL TEM to perform high-resolution microscopy, which was a significant milestone in the development of quantum dots.

Quantum dots are nanoparticles so small that their properties are determined by quantum phenomena instead of the number of electrons in the element. Nowadays, quantum dots are used to illuminate televisions and computer screens, LED lamps, and help guide surgeons in removing tumor tissue.

According to a press release from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, in 1984, while working at Bell Laboratories, Brus authored a paper on the subject, demonstrating that quantum dots could be made with the desired size and structure.

Dr. Gibson contributed to using high-resolution electron microscopy to verify the dots’ size, shape, crystallography, and composition in the earliest paper documenting the work. This led to the conclusion that their essential optical properties were due to quantum-confined bandgaps. The result was carried out at Bell Laboratories in 1983 and is referenced in the Nobel citation.

Dr. Gibson recalled his experience working with Lou’s team at Bell Labs in the early ’80s, saying it brings back fond memories.

He explained how the environment at Bell Labs was unique, with the freedom to choose research topics combined with immersion in a problem-rich climate.

It was no surprise that the institution invented the transistor, the laser, and the cell phone. Dr. Gibson emphasized the need to reproduce this environment today for young researchers.

Dr. Gibson is a nationally recognized researcher in the field of nanotechnology. He also held a faculty position as a mechanical engineering professor at FAMU to address the shortage of underrepresented engineers. Before joining Florida A&M University, he was the founding dean of Northeastern University’s College of Science.

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