We here at WebsEdge have fond memories of Dr Millie Dresselhaus. Over the years we have been fortunate to interview her a handful of times about her career, achievements and her commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, particularly for women.
The MIT professor, named ‘Queen of Carbon’ was a pioneer in material science, with specific interest in new materials, such as nanotubes and graphene. At the time when she was starting out, these were underexplored areas as the research happening then focused on bulk materials.
“Her influence is all around us, in the cars we drive, the energy we generate, the electronic devices that power our lives,” said Obama about Dr Dresselhaus when presenting her the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom – the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor. In her long career, Millie has received many awards and achieved many firsts including the first solo recipient of the Kavli Prize, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering and the first woman to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor.
She gained many admirers over the years, including us, and paved the way for many young scientists and actively encouraged women in STEM. When Millie graduated with her PHD in 1958, there were only 2% of women in physics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor states that women now make up 39% of chemists and material scientists. Even as recently as this month, Millie was still championing Women in Science, featuring in a campaign for General Electric (GE) ‘What If Scientists Were Celebrities? in which GE aims to have 20,000 women in STEM roles by 2020.
Watch Millie share her stories and insights in our interviews with her below, including winning the 2012 Kavli Prize.