Google sponsors a new Medal named after Mildred S. Dresselhaus

Photo of Mildred S. Dresselhaus

A new IEEE Medal will be presented for the first time in 2021 at the virtual IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit & Honors Ceremony—the IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal. The medal is named in honor of the late Institute Professor and Professor Emerita of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mildred Dresselhaus, whose innovations helped mold the history of advancements in science, technology, and education around the world.

Dr. Dresselhaus paved the way for the rise of nanotechnology and blazed a path for women in science and engineering. She was known as the “queen of carbon science” based on her lifelong research into the properties of graphite and carbon-based materials. The era of carbon electronics can be traced back to her tireless research efforts. She was also the first female recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor—IEEE’s highest award—at the 2015 IEEE Honors Ceremony. Upon receiving the medal, she remarked: “Science has changed … It’s only by knowing many things that you can move and apply the right science to engineering; it’s very important to have both of them move forward together. So I’d like to praise the IEEE very much because I’ve heard so many things tonight about bringing mathematics into electrical engineering and other fields of science.”

The medal will be presented to an individual “for outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering, of great impact to IEEE fields of interest.” The medal design process is also interesting. Dr. Dresselhaus’ family selected a photo that they felt captured her vivacious and happy spirit. A medal vendor produced a drawing from that photo, and then a sculpt was created. The final medal design will be based on this plaster sculpt.

The deadline for nominating someone for the IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal is 15 June annually. In the evaluation process, the following criteria will be considered: leadership, individual contributions, originality, breadth, patents/publications, other achievements, honors, duration of dominance, and quality of nomination. This new medal will be sponsored by Google.

Watch a profile about Dr. Dresselhaus on the Awards Channel IEEE.TV:

See the presentation of the 2015 IEEE Medal of Honor to Mildred Dresselhaus on the Awards Channel on IEEE.TV: