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Christopher Cramer

Senior Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Underwriters Laboratories

About Christopher Cramer

As senior vice president and chief research officer for Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Dr. Christopher J. Cramer oversees a broad portfolio of projects all sharing a focus on fundamental and applied safety science. His guidance enhances the breadth and impact of the organization’s capabilities as a world-class safety science research and standards development institution.

Cramer’s professional career began with four years of service as an officer in the United States Army, including combat duty in Operation Desert Storm. After his military service, he began his academic career at the University of Minnesota, culminating his service as its vice president for research, in which role he expanded the institution’s research enterprise as one of the top ten public programs in the United States. Cramer continues to hold the title of Distinguished McKnight and University Teaching Professor Emeritus.  

As an academic researcher, Cramer’s interests encompassed modeling catalysis to advance sustainable chemistry and chemical processes; molecular and material phenomena associated with solar energy devices and semiconductors; characterization of small-molecule activation at transition-metal centers; and remediation of environmental contaminants and chemical warfare agents. He has received the Arthur S. Flemming and Arthur C. Cope Scholar awards, and he has been named as a fellow by the American Chemical Society, as well as by the Alfred P. Sloan and John Simon Guggenheim foundations.

Cramer has authored the textbook Essentials of Computational Chemistry, Theories and Models, as well as over 500 peer-reviewed publications. He designed a popular and ongoing massive open online course, Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics, and maintains a YouTube Channel teaching computational chemistry and thermodynamics.

In service to professional organizations, Cramer was the editor-in-chief of Theoretical Chemistry Accounts for 15 years, an associate editor for the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry for 21 years, and he occupied various leadership roles for the Computers in Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. He presently serves on the board of directors for BioMADE, an innovation institute that is part of Manufacturing USA.

Cramer earned his A.B. in mathematics and chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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