Mildred Dresselhaus is best known for her contributions to the field of carbon science. Her work on carbon fibers and related compounds -- begun in the 1960s -- was foundational for future discoveries regarding carbon nanotubes, which can potentially revolutionize technology by making devices smaller and more powerful.
Often dubbed the “Queen of Carbon Science,” Dresselhaus went to Hunter College High School for Girls thinking she would become a teacher. Instead, Dresselhaus studied physics, eventually earning her Ph.D.
She then worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories. This led to innovations in graphite, which is made of sheets of carbon atoms called graphene. When graphene is rolled, it creates carbon nanotubes.
In 2012, Dresselhaus won the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.