Carbon Nanotube Researcher Wins Women in Science Award
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 23, 2007 -- Cited for her research on solid-state materials, including conceptualizing the creation of carbon nanotubes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Mildred Dresselhaus has been named the North American winner of a 2007 L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. She received her $100,000 award yesterday at a ceremony in Paris.
"Mildred Dresselhaus has long been a leading figure in carbon research, and her contributions to the field of carbon science constitute a guiding force in its development. Among her other achievements, she has provided the tools and fundamental understanding required to analyze carbon nanotubes and other nanoscale structures," said L'Oréal-UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in naming her a 2007 recipient, one of five chosen worldwide.
Due to their small size, high strength and electrical conductivity, carbon nanotubes are potentially useful in a wide variety of applications in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields. In 1992 Dresselhaus wrote a seminal paper describing the relationship between carbon nanotubes' electronic properties and their physical structures; with her collaborators, she showed that a nanotube can behave as either a metal or a semiconductor, depending on its geometry. Her insights were later confirmed experimentally. More recently, she has used the technique of resonance Raman spectroscopy to probe the vibrational properties of individual nanotubes and relate them to their other structural features.
Dresselhaus has conducted scientific research for more than four decades. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago and began her MIT career at the Lincoln Laboratory studying superconductivity; she later switched to magneto-optics, carrying out a series of experiments that led to a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure of semimetals, especially graphite.
Her other work has included explorations of the properties of liquid carbon and, more recently, the development and characterization of precise grids of bismuth nanowires, with the goal of enhancing the thermoelectric properties of these wires. Professor Dresselhaus has described her work as taking a "bottom-up" approach, in which she develops new nanoscale systems, characterizes their properties, and then sees what they can be used for.
Dresselhaus was the first tenured woman professor at MIT's School of Engineering and one of the first women ever to receive a Fulbright Fellowship. She has received numerous awards, including the US National Medal of Science and 19 honorary doctorates worldwide.
Dresselhaus and the four other recipients received their awards yesterday at UNESCO House in Paris, where Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, chairman of L'Oréal, and Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, presented each laureate with $100,000.
The L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science honors eminent women scientists at the international level. The five laureates are nominated by scientists from around the world and a jury of 14 international scientists selects the final recipients.
This year's jury was presided over by Nobel laureates Christian de Duve of the Institute of Cellular Pathology in Belgium and Pierre-Gilles de Gennes of the Collège de France in Paris. Since its inception in 1998, 362 women from 76 countries have been recognized as laureates or fellows.
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- The study of the effects of a magnetic field on specific properties of light, such as polarization.
- The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
- raman spectroscopy
- That branch of spectroscopy concerned with Raman spectra and used to provide a means of studying pure rotational, pure vibrational and rotation-vibration energy changes in the ground level of molecules. Raman spectroscopy is dependent on the collision of incident light quanta with the molecule, inducing the molecule to undergo the change.
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