Mildred Dresselhaus at the White House in 2012
November 11, 1930
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 2017 (aged 86)|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Known for||Carbon nanotubes|
Mildred Dresselhaus (née Spiewak; November 11, 1930 – February 20, 2017), known as the "queen of carbon science", was an American nanotechnologist. She was an Institute Professor and Professor Emerita of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dresselhaus won numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, the Enrico Fermi Award and the Vannevar Bush Award.
Early life and education
Dresselhaus was born on November 11, 1930, in Brooklyn, the daughter of Ethel (Teichtheil) and Meyer Spiewak, who were Polish Jewish immigrants. Her family was heavily affected by the Great Depression so from a young age Dresselhaus helped provide income for the family by doing piecework assembly tasks at home and by working in a zipper factory.
Dresselhaus was raised and attended grade school in the Bronx. Her older brother, Irving Spiewak, informed her of the opportunity to apply to Hunter College High School where she later excelled and gained practice as a teacher by tutoring fellow students.
Experience at Hunter College
Dresselhaus attended Hunter College in New York. Traditionally, a women's college, during Dresselhaus's time as a student there, Hunter College's Bronx campus opened itself to a flood of male G.I. Bill beneficiaries.
The boys in the science classes were toward the bottom of the class... They always used to come to me for help.... That might be somewhat significant in my story, because I never got the idea in college that science was a man's profession.
While attending Hunter, one of her professors, and future Nobel-Prize-winner Rosalyn Yalow took interest in Dresselhaus and encouraged her to apply for graduate fellowships and pursue a career in physics. Dresselhaus graduated with her undergraduate degree in liberal arts in 1951.
She carried out postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge on a Fulbright Fellowship and Harvard University, where she received her MA from Radcliffe College. She received a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1958 where she studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. She then spent two years at Cornell University as a postdoc before moving to Lincoln Lab as a staff member.
Career and legacy
Dresselhaus had a 57-year career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She became Abby Rockefeller Mauze Visiting professor of electrical engineering at MIT in 1967, became a tenured faculty member in 1968, and became a professor of physics in 1983. In 1985, she was appointed the first female Institute Professor at MIT As the exotic compounds she studied became increasingly relevant to modern science and engineering, she was uniquely positioned to become a world-leading expert and write one of the standard textbooks. Her groundwork in the field led to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolating and characterizing graphene for which they were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize.
Dresselhaus was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1990 in recognition of her work on electronic properties of materials as well as expanding the opportunities of women in science and engineering. And in 2005 she was awarded the 11th Annual Heinz Award in the category of Technology, the Economy and Employment. In 2008 she was awarded the Oersted Medal, and in 2015 the IEEE Medal of Honor.
In 2000–2001, she was the director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy. From 2003 to 2008, she was the chair of the governing board of the American Institute of Physics. She also has served as president of the American Physical Society, the first female president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences. Dresselhaus devoted a great deal of time to supporting efforts to promote increased participation of women in physics. In 1971, Dresselhaus and a colleague organized the first Women's Forum at MIT as a seminar exploring the roles of women in science and engineering.
In 2012 Dresselhaus was co-recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, along with Burton Richter. On May 31, 2012, Dresselhaus was awarded the Kavli Prize "for her pioneering contributions to the study of phonons, electron-phonon interactions, and thermal transport in nanostructures."
As significant career innovator who held many patents, Dresselhaus was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
There are several physical theories named after Dresselhaus. The Hicks-Dresselhaus Model (L. D. Hicks and Dresselhaus)  is the first basic model for low-dimensional thermoelectrics, which initiated the whole band field. The SFDD model (Riichiro Saito, Mitsutaka Fujita, Gene Dresselhaus, and Mildred Dresselhaus)  first predicted the band structures of carbon nanotubes. The Dresselhaus effect refers, however, to the spin–orbit interaction effect modeled by Gene Dresselhaus, Mildred Dresselhaus's husband.
In 2017, Dresselhaus was the face of a General Electric television advertisement which asked the question "What if female scientists were celebrities?" aimed to increase the number of women in STEM roles in its ranks.
In 2019, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Board of Directors created The IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal. The medal is awarded at the annual IEEE Honors Ceremony to an individual "For outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering, of great impact to IEEE fields of interest." The first presentation is scheduled for June 2021.
Contributions to scientific knowledge
Dresselhaus was particularly noted for her work on graphite, graphite intercalation compounds, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and low-dimensional thermoelectrics. Her group made frequent use of electronic band structure, Raman scattering and the photophysics of carbon nanostructures. Her research helped develop technology based on thin graphite which allow electronics to be "everywhere," including clothing and smartphones.
With the appearance of lasers in the 1960s, Professor Dresselhaus started to use lasers for magneto-optics experiments, which later led to the creation of a new model for the electronic structure of graphite. A great part of her research dedicates to the study of 'buckyballs' and graphene focusing a great deal in the electrical properties of carbon nanotubes and enhancing thermoelectric properties of nanowires.
Honors and awards
- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from the ETH Zurich, 2015
- IEEE Medal of Honor, 2015 (first female recipient)
- National Inventors Hall of Fame induction 2014
- Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2014
- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, 2013
- Von Hippel Award, Materials Research Society, 2013
- Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, 2012
- Enrico Fermi Award (second female recipient), 2012
- Vannevar Bush Award (second female recipient), 2009
- ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, 2009
- Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize, American Physical Society, 2008
- Oersted Medal, 2007
- L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science, 2007
- Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, 2005
- IEEE Founders Medal Recipients, 2004
- Karl Taylor Compton Medal for Leadership in Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2001
- Medal of Achievement in Carbon Science and Technology, American Carbon Society, 2001
- Honorary Member of the Ioffe Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2000
- National Materials Advancement Award of the Federation of Materials Societies, 2000
- Honorary Doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, February 2000
- Nicholson Medal, American Physical Society, March 2000
- Weizmann Institute's Millennial Lifetime Achievement Award, June 2000
- SGL Carbon Award, American Carbon Society, 1997
- National Medal of Science, 1990
- Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award, 1977
- Fellow, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
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|Scholia has a profile for Mildred Dresselhaus (Q29573).|
- Dresselhaus, M. S.; et.al. "Analysis of Picosecond Pulsed Laser Melted Graphite", Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, (December 1986).
- Dresselhaus, M. S.; et.al. "The Transport Properties of Activated Carbon Fibers", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, (July 1990).
- Dresselhaus, M. S.; et.al. "Photoconductivity of Activated Carbon Fibers", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, (August 1990).
- Dresselhaus, M. S.; et.al. "Synthesis and Evaluation of Single Layer, Bilayer, and Multilayer Thermoelectric Thin Films", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, (January 20, 1995).
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- M. S. Dresselhaus; G. Dresselhaus; R. Saito; A. Jorio (2005). "Raman Spectroscopy of Carbon Nanotubes" (PDF). Physics Reports. 409 (2): 47. Bibcode:2005PhR...409...47D. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2004.10.006. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
- M. S. Dresselhaus & H. Dai (2004). "Carbon Nanotubes: Continued Innovations and Challenges". MRS Bulletin. 29 (4): 237. doi:10.1557/mrs2004.74.
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- M. S. Dresselhaus, R. Saito and A. Jorio (2004). "Semiconducting Carbon Nanotubes" (PDF). Proceedings of ICPS-27. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
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- M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Nanotubes: a step in synthesis". Nature Materials. 3 (10): 665–6. Bibcode:2004NatMa...3..665D. doi:10.1038/nmat1232. PMID 15467687. S2CID 29431916.
- M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Applied Physics: Nanotube Antennas". Nature Materials. 432 (7020): 959–60. Bibcode:2004Natur.432..959D. doi:10.1038/432959a. PMID 15616541. S2CID 37208770.
- S. B. Fagan; A. G. Souza-Filho; J. Mendes-Filho; P. Corio; M. S. Dresselhaus (2005). "Electronic Properties of Ag- and CrO3-filled Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes" (PDF). Chemical Physics Letters. 406 (1–3): 54. Bibcode:2005CPL...406...54F. doi:10.1016/j.cplett.2005.02.091. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
- Y. A. Kim; H. Muramatsu; T. Hayashi; M. Endo; M. Terrones; M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Thermal Stability and Structural Changes of Double-walled Carbon Nanotubes by Heat Treatment" (PDF). Chemical Physics Letters. 398 (1–3): 87. Bibcode:2004CPL...398...87K. doi:10.1016/j.cplett.2004.09.024. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
- G. Samsonidze; R. Saito; N. Kobayashi; A. Gruneis; J. Jiang; A. Jorio; S. G. Chou; G. Dresselhaus; M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Family Behavior of the Optical Transition Energies in Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes of Smaller Diameters" (PDF). Applied Physics Letters. 85 (23): 5703. Bibcode:2004ApPhL..85.5703S. doi:10.1063/1.1829160. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 11, 2006.
- S. G. Chou; H. B. Ribeiro; E. Barros; A. P. Santos; D. Nezich; G. Samsonidze; C. Fantini; M. A. Pimenta; A. Jorio; F. Pletz-Filho; M. S. Dresselhaus; G. Dresselhaus; R. Saito; M. Zheng; G. B. Onoa; E. D. Semke; A. K. Swan; B. B. Goldberg; M. S. Unlu (2004). "Optical Characterization of DNA-wrapped Carbon Nanotube Hybrids" (PDF). Chemical Physics Letters. 397 (4–6): 296. Bibcode:2004CPL...397..296C. doi:10.1016/j.cplett.2004.08.117. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 11, 2006.
- E. I. Rogacheva; O. N. Nashchekina; A. V. Meriuts; S. G. Lyubchenko; O. Vekhov; M. S. Dresselhaus; G. Dresselhaus (2005). "Quantum Size Effects in PbTe/SnTe/PbTe Heterostructures". Applied Physics Letters. 86 (6): 063103. Bibcode:2005ApPhL..86f3103R. doi:10.1063/1.1862338.
- H. Son; Y. Hori; S. G. Chou; D. Nezich; G. Samsonidze; E. Barros; G. Dresselhaus; M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Environment Effects on the Raman Spectra of Individual Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes: Suspended and Grown on Polycrystalline Silicon" (PDF). Applied Physics Letters. 85 (20): 4744. Bibcode:2004ApPhL..85.4744S. doi:10.1063/1.1818739. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
- C. Fantini; A. Jorio; M. Souza; A. J. Mai Jr.; M. S. Strano; M. A. Pimenta; M. S. Dresselhaus (2004). "Optical Transition Energies and Radial Breathing Modes for HiPco Carbon Nanotubes from Raman Spectroscopy" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 93 (14): 147406. Bibcode:2004PhRvL..93n7406F. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.147406. PMID 15524844. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2007.
- S. B. Cronin; A. K. Swan; M. S. Unlu; B. B. Goldberg; M. S. Dresselhaus; M. Tinkham (2004). "Measuring Uniaxial Strain in Individual Single-wall Carbon Nanotubes: Resonance Raman Spectra of AFM Modified SWNTs" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 93 (16): 167401. Bibcode:2004PhRvL..93p7401C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.167401. PMID 15525030. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 11, 2006.
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- "What if female scientists were celebrities?", GE advertisement (2017)
- Schatz, George C.; Scholes, Greg D.; Stang, Peter J.; Burrows, Cindy J.; Winnick, Francoise M.; Alivisatos, A. Paul; Lieber, Charles M.; Weiss, Paul S.; Buriak, Jillian M. (June 27, 2017). "Virtual Issue Celebrating the Life and Career of Mildred Dresselhaus". Chemistry of Materials. 29 (12): 5017–5018. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02398. ISSN 0897-4756.
- Mildred Dresselhaus Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America