Brandeis University remembers Mildred Dresselhaus, H'16
It is with sadness that we learn of the passing of world renowned scientist and scholar Mildred Dresselhaus H'16, professor emerita of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among her many honors and accomplishments, Dresselhaus received an honorary degree from Brandeis University during the 65th Commencement Exercises in 2016. Dresselhaus’ granddaughter, Brandeis alumna Shoshi Cooper '10, was present at Commencement and watched her grandmother earn the university’s highest honor.
Interim President Lisa M. Lynch read the following citation at Commencement prior to conferring upon Dresselhaus her honorary Doctor of Science degree:
You followed your heart, and it led you to science. Encouraged by Rosalyn Yalow, a Hunter College professor who would later receive the Nobel Prize in medicine, you earned a doctorate in physics—a field then actively discouraging young women from joining its ranks—and began smashing glass ceilings.
Powered by your brilliance and your confidence, you went on to revolutionize research across physics and engineering. Today, you are widely acknowledged as the “queen of carbon science,” the chief authority on fundamental properties of a building block of life. Your pioneering studies in the areas of carbon-based materials and nanoscience are now fueling next-generation advances in energy storage, electronics, space exploration, even bionic implants.
The impressive list of awards and honors you have won includes the National Medal of Science, the Kavli Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In addition to your exceptional gifts in the classroom and the lab, you have mentored generations of promising scientists, particularly women, whose successes you inspire and champion.
Your dedication as a chamber musician is entirely in tune with your virtuosity as a scientist; both endeavors demand great tenacity, sensitivity and acuity. For your leadership, your innovation and your incalculable contributions to science and technology, we are proud to present you with Brandeis University’s highest honor.