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Cornell University
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Craig J. Fennie
2013 MacArthur Fellow

Assistant Professor, College of Engineering

“Punk rock feeds my creativity! I don’t think I’m as intelligent as some theorists, and I’m hopelessly disorganized through and through and through. Luckily I’ve always known this, so the only option I’m left with is to think of new things to work on. Given that my brain jumps around plenty, the ideas tend to be inspired from more than one field. So perhaps it’s a case of creativity from disorder.”

Not Found in Nature

Condensed-matter physicist Craig Fennie, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics, designs materials that never existed before. He starts with a wishlist of electronic, magnetic, or optical properties, then imagines the atomic-level structures that would exhibit those properties.

To do his work Fennie engages equally, he says, with two traditional disciplines: condensed-matter physics and solid-state chemistry.

He collaborates with experimentalists and employs a materials-by-design strategy to build new materials, atom by atom. Fennie’s ultimate goal for these new materials? To help propel electronic and energy technologies that will ultimately benefit future generations.


  • MacArthur Fellowship, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2013
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, U.S. Army Research Office, 2012
  • Faculty Early Career Development Award, National Science Foundation, 2011
  • Young Investigator Award, U.S. Army Research Office, 2010
  • Department of Energy Research Highlight, U.S. Department of Energy, 2009