Society NewsMildred S. Dresselhaus to receive 2013 Von Hippel Award for carbon scienceThe 2013 Von Hippel Award, the Materials Research Society’s highest honor, will be presented to Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Emerita Institute Professor and Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dresselhaus is being recognized for “her pioneering contributions to the fundamental science of carbon-based and other low electron density materials, her leadership in energy and science policy, and her exemplary mentoring of young scientists.” Dresselhaus will present her award talk at the 2013 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston on Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Boston Hotel.Low resolution version High resolution version
Dresselhaus has conducted research that covered a wide range of problems in the physics of solids with special attention to nanoscience, and carbon-based and other nanostructures of particular relevance to energy-related applications more recently. She made pioneering contributions to the study of semimetals and semiconductors, graphite and its intercalation compounds, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, and nanostructured thermoelectrics. In the 1960s, she was among the first to use the newly invented laser in magneto-optics studies, an innovation that laid the groundwork for one of her signature accomplishments, the application of Raman spectroscopy to probe the electronic and vibrational response of carbon nanostructures. In her theoretical exploration of the electronic properties of graphene and single-walled carbon nanotubes, Dresselhaus developed an understanding of the unusual Raman spectra of these materials that arise from the interaction between electronic excitation and electron-phonon collisions. This understanding was used to make Raman spectroscopy of graphene and nanotubes the most used technique for determining the properties of individual samples.In a landmark article co-authored with R. Saito, M. Fujita, and G. Dresselhaus (Appl. Phys. Rev.
60 ; p. 2204), Mildred Dresselhaus predicted the electronic structure and density of states for all chiralities of carbon nanotubes (known at that time as graphene tubules) before they were measured and before many were discovered. This article and her work that followed are now the textbook formulation of carbon nanotubes that informs other studies in the field.While elemental carbon has been the subject of much of her work, Dresselhaus has made significant contributions to the nanotechnology of other materials as well, in particular nonstoichiometric inorganic compounds. Her specific interest is in changes in the properties of materials induced by nanostructuring and how these altered properties may be used in practical applications.Recognizing early on that meeting energy demand without damaging the environment is a major global challenge, Dresselhaus organized a special issue of Nature on energy that was the clarion call among scientists for new interdisciplinary science directions. In the early 2000s, she chaired a study on hydrogen for the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, publishing the report Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy, which subsequently became the model for future government reports on energy. Dresselhaus has served in many scientific leadership roles, including director of the DOE Office of Science, president of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and chair of the American Institute of Physics Governing Board, as well as co-chair of the most recent Decadal Study of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics.The Von Hippel Award also recognizes the tremendous influence Dresselhaus has had on young scientists and in furthering the role of women in science. She helped establish the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society, which continues to be an influential committee, advising numerous laboratories and universities. In a recent interview with MRS Bulletin editorial board member Steve Yalisove, Dresselhaus said, “Mentoring is about listening to people …and not making decisions for them but having them make the decisions….You have to not take over because it’s their choice and they’re going to have to face the consequences, so you have to have that in mind.”Dresselhaus received her AB degree from Hunter College, AM degree from Radcliffe College, and PhD degree from the University of Chicago. During this time, she also received a Fulbright Fellowship at Newnham College, Cambridge University, and a Bell Telephone Laboratory Fellowship. After serving as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University from 1958 to 1960, Dresselhaus joined the staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory (1960–1967), then the MIT faculty in 1968. Among her numerous honors are the National Medal of Science, the North American Laureate L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, the Vannevar Bush Award from the US National Science Board, and the Sōmiya Award for International Collaboration from the International Union of Materials Research Societies. She became an MRS Fellow in 2009. Last year, President Obama named Dresselhaus as one of the two recipients of the Enrico Fermi Award. During the ceremony, then-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu recognized Dresselhaus’s “scientific leadership … that has strengthened America’s energy and economic security.” In 2012, Dresselhaus also received the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, and the Materials and Society Award from Acta Materialia, which was presented at the 2012 MRS Fall Meeting.The MRS Von Hippel Award includes a $10,000 cash prize, honorary lifetime membership in MRS, and a unique trophy—a mounted ruby laser crystal, symbolizing the many faceted nature of materials research. The award recognizes those qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers—brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional disciplines, as exemplified by the life of Arthur von Hippel (http://vonhippel.mrs.org).