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Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus Wins 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Materials & Society Award

September 29, 2011
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Anita B. Miller
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Materials Research Society
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The winner of the 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Materials & Society Award (formerly the J. Herbert Hollomon Award) is Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus, who is currently Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Professor Dresselhaus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and has served as President of the American Physical Society, Treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences, and President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and on numerous advisory committees and councils.

Dr. Dresselhaus is an internationally recognized scientist and engineer. Her contributions, both in basic science and applied engineering, to the many aspects of carbon science and technology through her in depth studies of carbon nanostructures, especially carbon nanotubes and graphene, have greatly stimulated interactions between Materials and Technology and societal interests. Dr. Dresselhaus’ creativity, vision, achievements and influence on her field are specifically honoured by the present Award.

Professor Dresselhaus received her undergraduate education at Hunter College. After a year of study at Cambridge University and another year at Harvard University, she completed her Ph.D. degree at the University of Chicago, with her Ph.D. thesis in 1958 on the subject of microwave properties of superconductors in a magnetic field. Following her doctoral studies, Dr. Dresselhaus spent two years at Cornell University as an NSF postdoctoral fellow, and then seven years as a staff member of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the Solid State Physics Division. She joined the MIT faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1967 and the Department of Physics in 1983, and was named an Institute Professor in 1985. She served as the Director of the Office of Science at the US Department of Energy in 2000--2001 and as the Chair of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics 2003--2008.

Professor Dresselhaus's research over the years has covered a wide range of topics in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. She is best known for her work on carbon science and carbon nanostructures, as well as nanoscience and nanotechnology more generally. She is also one of the researchers responsible for the resurgence of the Thermoelectrics research field through her Press Release 2012 Acta Materialia, Inc. Materials & Society Award early work on low dimensional thermoelectricity in the early 1990's. She co-chaired a DOE Study on "Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy in 2003 and more recently cochaired of a National Academy Decadal Study of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. She has co-authored more than 1400 publications including books, book chapters, invited review articles and peer reviewed journal articles. She is co-inventor on five US patents.

Dr. Dresselhaus is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the IEEE, the Materials Research Society, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Carbon Society and a member of the American Philosophical Society as well as a Foreign Associate of the Engineering Academy of Japan, a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of India, and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics, United Kingdom. Dr. Dresselhaus has received numerous awards, including the US National Medal of Science and 28 honorary doctorates worldwide. Her recent awards include the L'Oreal-UNESCO 2007 North American Laureate for Women in Science, the 2008 Oersted Medal for Physics Education from the American Association for Physics Teachers, the 2008 Buckley Prize for Condensed Matter Physics from the American Physical Society, the 2009 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board, and the Czochralski Award of the European Materials Research Society, 2010.

The Acta Materialia, Inc. Award in Materials and Society was established in memory of Dr. J. Herbert Hollomon and his dedication to promoting positive social consequences of science and technology that have had a major impact on society. The Award consists of a Steuben glass sculpture, an inscribed certificate, and a cash honorarium.

Dr. Dresselhaus was selected as the 2012 awardee by an international panel of judges appointed by the Board of Governors of Acta Materialia, Inc. and will receive this prestigious award in 2012 during the Fall Meeting of MRS in Boston, MA.

About the Materials Research Society

The Materials Research Society (MRS) is an international organization of almost 15,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life. MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 90 countries, with more than 46% of members residing outside the United States. In addition to its communications and publications portfolio, MRS organizes high-quality scientific meetings, attracting over 13,000 attendees annually and facilitating interactions among a wide range of experts from the cutting edge of the global materials community. MRS is also a recognized leader in education outreach and advocacy for scientific research.