Published: June 21, 2018

Phillip Duxbury recommended as dean of College of Natural Science

Contact(s): Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561, Caroline Brooks Communications and Brand Strategy office: 517-432-0920, Layne Cameron Media Communications office: (517) 353-8819 cell: (765) 748-4827

Phillip Duxbury, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science, or NatSci, will be recommended as dean of the college.

If approved by the MSU Board of Trustees on June 22, his appointment takes effect Aug. 16, 2018.

“With over 30 years of outstanding research and teaching at Michigan State University, we are delighted that Dr. Duxbury has accepted the university’s recommendation to ascend into the role of dean at our College of Natural Science,” said John Engler, MSU interim president. “As a faculty member, Dr. Duxbury has enhanced the reputation and caliber of the college and we look forward to Natural Science’s next chapter under his leadership.”

Duxbury has served as chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2013. He joined the MSU faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and became a full professor in 1997.

During his tenure, Duxbury has served as the department’s graduate studies director, associate director of the MSU Center for Fundamental Materials Research, director of the Center for Nanomaterials Design and Assembly and the director of the Center of Research Excellence in Complex Materials. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

“Dr. Duxbury is a successful, long-time chairperson who supports collaboration and understands the importance of innovative disciplinary and cross-disciplinary scholarship,” said June Pierce Youatt, MSU provost. “These will all be valuable assets to him and the college as he assumes this new leadership role.”

Duxbury’s specialties include statistical physics, molecular dynamics, rigidity percolation, nanostructure problems, device models and ultrafast processes. His research focuses on ultrafast nanocrystallography and applications to ultrafast processes in materials; phase behavior of polymer-nanoparticle mixtures with applications to organic and perovskite solar cells; phase behavior of nanoparticle-lipid bilayer systems with applications to nanotoxicology; and finding the atomic structure of non-crystalline materials, such as isolated nanoparticles and complex molecules, involving the definition and solution of novel inverse problems.

“It is an honor and terrific opportunity to be recommended for the position of dean of the College of Natural Science,” Duxbury said. “The outstanding faculty, staff and students in the college are a credit to the university. Working with them and colleagues across campus, I look forward to promoting excellence and innovation in all facets of NatSci programs.”

Duxbury’s research is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, and he is also part of a workforce development project in Accelerator Science and Technology funded by the Department of Energy. He received his doctorate in physics from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Cheryl Sisk, University Distinguished Professor, has served as NatSci interim dean since January 2018. She succeeded R. James Kirkpatrick, who served as NatSci dean since 2007.

Phillip Duxbury, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will be recommended to the MSU Board of Trustees as the college's dean on June 22. Photo by Harley Seeley.