‘Queen of Carbon Science’ to Speak at UA

  • October 29th, 2014
Mildred Dresselhaus
Mildred Dresselhaus

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus, an internationally known physicist and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present a colloquium, “Graphene for Enhancement of Raman Effect”  at The University of Alabama Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 3:45 p.m. in room 227 of Gallalee Hall.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Dresselhaus is noted for her work in the thermal transport of naonstructures and the study of phonon and electronic-phonons.

Phonons play a major role in condensed matter’s physical properties, such as thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. The study of phonons is an important part of condensed matter physics.

An emerita institute professor, the most prestigious title awarded to faculty at MIT, Dresselhaus was the co-recipient of the coveted Enrico Fermi Award, along with Burton Richter, in 2012, presented by President Barack Obama. That same year, she also received Norway’s prestigious Kavli Prize for her research.

The Kavli Prize is awarded every other year to recognize scientists for outstanding work in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.

Dresselhaus was also awarded the National Medal of Science in 1990, served as the director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy from 2000 to 2001, and she served as the chair of the governing board of the American Institute of Physics from 2003 to 2008.

She received the Carnegie Foundation grant in 1973 to encourage women’s study of traditionally male-dominated fields, and she has devoted a great deal of effort to promoting the increase of women in physics. In 2010, Dresselhaus won the American Chemical Society’s Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.

She is also a professor of physics and electrical engineering. Dresselhaus began her career at MIT in the Lincoln Laboratory, where she carried out a series of experiments that led to a basic understanding of the electronic structures of semi-metals.

Dresselhaus received her undergraduate degree from Hunter College in New York City and received a Fulbright Fellowship to attend the University of Cambridge in 1951. She received her master’s degree at Radcliffe College in 1953 and her doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1958.

The colloquium is sponsored by UA’s department of physics and astronomy. The department is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships, Truman Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


Raymond White, professor and chair, department of physics and astronomy, rwhite@ua.edu


Stephanie Kirkland, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539, stephanie.kirkland@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.