Women in Technology Hall of Fame

Millie Dresselhaus

Millie Dresselhaus

Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Inducted in 1998

Mildred Dresselhaus passed away in February of 2017.

Known internationally for her broad contributions to condensed matter and materials physics, she made additions to advancing carbon science and its novel nanomaterials. Mildred was active in the study of a wide range of problems in the physics of solids. As an MIT professor, Mildred had an opportunity to work with cutting-edge developments and understood novel forms of nanostructured carbons, like intercalation compounds, carbon nanotubes, and graphene. Over 70 PhD advisees and hundreds of graduate students in the classroom have trained with her and have gone on to advance science and technology broadly.

Mildred was the author of four books on carbon science. She desired to advance the frontiers of science and to serve the scientific community through their professional societies and in training the next generation of researchers.

Mildred was a member of multiple organizations including: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She was a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Engineering (IEEE), the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and the American Carbon Society.

She has served as chair of the board of the American Institute of Physics (2003–2008), president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1997), treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences (1992–96), and president of the American Physical Society (1984).

Mildred received 24 honorary doctorates and numerous awards including: the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014); the Arthur R. von Hippel Award (2013); the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience (2012); the Enrico Fermi Award (2012); the Vannevar Bush Award, (2009); the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences (2009); the Oersted Medal (2008); the Buckley Prize (2008); the L’Oreal-UNESCO North American Laureate Award for Women in Science (2007); the Heinz Award for Technology, Employment, and the Economy (2005); the Compton Award (2001); the Founders Medal 2004, IEEE; the Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service (1999); and the National Medal of Science, (1990).

She served as the director of the office of science at the United States department of energy from 2000–2001.

Mildred held the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé chair in electrical engineering and physics and was appointed as the first female institute professor in 1985.

She joined the MIT faculty in the department of electrical engineering and computer science in 1967 and joined the department of physics in 1983. Following her doctoral studies, Mildred spent two years at Cornell University as an NSF postdoctoral fellow and then seven years as a staff member of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory where she started her studies of carbon science.

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