Dresselhaus is selected by President Obama for Enrico Fermi Award

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January 12, 2012

The White House announced today the selection by President Obama of Mildred S. Dresselhaus and Stanford Emeritus Professor, Nobel Laureate (1976) and MIT alumnus, Burton Richter for the Enrico Fermi award, one of the government’s oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement. The award, which honors the memory of Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will present the recipients with this award at a ceremony in Washington D.C. at a future date.

On the U.S. Department of Energy website announcement, Secretary Chu states, "The scientists being recognized today with the prestigious Enrico Fermi Award have provided scientific leadership throughout their careers that has strengthened America’s energy and economic security. I congratulate them for their achievements as pioneers in innovative research and thank them for their service."

Mildred S. Dresselhaus is cited for "leadership in condensed matter physics, in energy and scientific policy, in service to the scientific community, and in mentoring women in the sciences."

Dr. Dresselhaus received an A.B. summa cum laude from Hunter College in 1951, an A.M. from Radcliffe College in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1958 from the University of Chicago. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Newnham College at the University of Cambridge from 1951 to 1952. Born and raised in New York City at the height of the Depression, she was inspired at Hunter College by future Nobel Laureate Roslyn Yalow, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to pursue science.

Dr. Dresselhaus’ extensive portfolio of research accomplishments includes many discoveries leading to fundamental understanding in various condensed matter systems. Dr. Dresselhaus has also served in many scientific leadership roles, including as the 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. She is also widely recognized as having devoted considerable energy to mentoring students, raising community awareness, and promoting progress on gender equity. She is widely respected as a premier mentor and spokesperson for women in science.(Photo credit: Ed Quinn)