About MRS

Baratunde Cola, Georgia Institute of Technology, Carbice Corporation

2021 MRS Board of Directors

Baratunde Cola

Baratunde Cola received his BE and MS degrees from Vanderbilt University, while playing on the football team as a starting fullback, and his PhD from Purdue University, all in mechanical engineering. He is likely the only person in the history of football to tear his ACL twice as a walk-on, serve two years as an equipment manager while rehabbing, and, under a new coaching staff in his final year, beat out five players to earn a scholarship and starting position. He won a top dissertation award at Purdue for his seminal work on carbon nanotube thermal interfaces.

Cola directs the Nanoengineered Systems and Transport Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which helped to start Carbice Corporation, TCpoly, and the Academic and Research Leadership Network. He has published numerous highly-cited papers and patents related to energy transfer and nanotechnology. In 2017, he was named the top scientist or engineer in the country under 35 years old by the United States of America National Science Foundation, through the Alan T. Waterman Award. He is an award winning public speaker and frequent keynote presenter.

Cola lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two daughters. 

Cola is a professor of mechanical engineering with a courtesy appointment in materials science, and he is the Faculty Athletics Representative at Georgia Tech, where he oversees academic integrity for athletics and reports to the president. He is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Carbice Corporation and has raised over $4M for this commercial enterprise. He is a Fellow of AAAS, a member of ASME, and a lifetime member of NSBE. He is a member of the International Semiconductor Industry Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR) Thermal Working Group. Cola is on the Board of Advisors for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Cola has been active in MRS throughout his career. As a graduate student in 2008 he placed in the MRS Science as Art Competition. He has chaired MRS meeting sessions, co-organized symposia on thermal energy, and is published in MRS journals. He enjoys attending Fall and Spring MRS annual meetings.  

@baratundecola on social media

Candidate's Statement

MRS is the premier international, member-driven organization for education and advocacy of materials research in industry, academia, and national labs. Our community is broad in its membership, with disciplines spanning from physical to biological sciences, and seeks to have transformative global impact.

Materials have always been at the core of my research, educational, and industrial experiences, and I look forward to working with the membership to advance our collective and individual goals. I am often heard saying that the majority of the wealth and value created in the world in the 21st century will be the result of materials innovations at a scale the world has never seen. It is vital that MRS serve its members to advance and capitalize on opportunities in these changing times.

One particular opportunity I would like to highlight is the changing landscape of education and career opportunities for materials researchers. We must take steps to be proactive and I look forward to hearing your ideas. Inclusive excellence in research, science communication, education, and diversity are core values of mine that I look forward to sharing through my service for our membership.

I also have many years of experience communicating with venture capital and understanding the details of successful translation of materials research into impactful products and companies. I look forward to integrating these experiences into how I support and serve our members to help them achieve their career goals.

I would like to engage our global community in a discussion about alternating the Fall meeting between Boston and Atlanta. Atlanta is an established international hub of technology innovation with easy, low-cost access for travel, and there are significant Black Americans and other minority populations in the Southeast, as well as many Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Southeast that we can interact with to further enhance the diversity of our membership, which is critical for organizational sustainability.

Most importantly, I would like to serve our community, listen to what is needed, and respond with action to advocate for materials research. I ask for your support and vote.