Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Woman Scientist Profile: Professor Mildred Dresselhaus

Professor Dresselhaus may be a Condensed Matter Experimental Physicist at MIT, but as a materials scientist, I'm claiming her for our side.


I first became aware of Prof. Dresselhaus at a conference, where she was giving an invited talk on the state of thermoelectric materials research, one of several areas in which she is considered a significant innovator. She's also one of the premiere researchers in carbon science, having worked in the field since ~1973, studying superconductivity in intercalated graphite compounds, and written four books on the subject.  She was involved in critical experiments to validate the structure of of single-walled nanotubes using Raman spectroscopy.  Her most recent projects have studied bismuth nanowire fabrication.  Her list of career awards is intimidatingly impressive (including the US National Medal of Science), but my favorite thing about Professor Dresselhaus?

She never stops looking forward.


(If you haven't seen Meet The Robinsons yet, you're missing out!)

She doesn't sit on her ample scientific laurels and drift into an emeritus haze. She keeps finding what she thinks is new and interesting. To hear her give a talk is to be inspired about all of the possibilities for increasing our understanding of the universe. She asks hard questions when she sits in on a talk. She is a woman, confident in herself, and her work, and she's awesome!


If it isn't obvious, I'm still playing around with different directions to take this blog. To some extent, I plan to talk about daily grad student life, but I'd also like to try and explain what about materials science in particular is so awesome.

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