Saturday, April 2, 2022

Queen of Carbon: Mildred Dresselhaus

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, History of Science, Miscellaneous

Ed Hessler 

A new biography entitled "Carbon Queen: The Remarkable Life of Nanoscience Pioneer: Mildred Dresselhaus by Maia Weinstock (MIT Press) is reviewed in Nature is reviewed n the journal Nature by Ariana Remmel.Below are a couple of quotes which I hope are teasers enough for you to take a look at the essay. And at the Amazon link you take look inside the book.

"One of her earliest moments of acclaim came from a 1968 paper upending the prevailing view of graphite’s electronic structure.   It was so controversial that a reviewer revealed himself to Dresselhaus to warn her against publishing. She and her colleagues went ahead knowing that they risked ruining their careers, as she recounted in a 1987 lecture. The work unleashed a flood of publications confirming the findings, and jump-started a broader interest in carbon-based materials.

"Dresselhaus made a habit of bucking trends, following her experimental evidence even when the conclusions ran counter to accepted knowledge. In the 1980s and 1990s, she made discoveries that presaged the existence of buckminsterfullerene, or ‘buckyballs’, and the possibility of elongating these carbon spheres to form ‘buckytubes’. She predicted that the properties of a nanotube, made of a rolled-up sheet of carbon a single atom thick, would depend on the orientation of the hexagons. This was validated years later."

The review includes her growing up, education,  her significant work on behalf of women at MIT, her marriage/family, collaboration with her husband and the significance of her basic research. She more than once took considerable career risks when the evidence supported them.

 In addition she became a LEGO ideas finalist which was not approved for production but it did result in a limited edition of a LEGO figurine.

A remarkable career.

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