As a girl in New York City in the 1940s, Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus was taught that there were only three career options open to women: secretary, nurse, or teacher. but sneaking into museums, buying three-cent copies of National GeographicAnd the devouring books on the history of science ignited a passion for inquiry in Dresselhaus.
In “The Carbon Queen: The Remarkable Life of Nanoscience Pioneer Mildred Dresselhaus,” science writer Maia Weinstock, who is also deputy editorial director at the MIT News Office, describes how, with curiosity and drive, Dresselhaus defied expectations and created a made as a career. Leading scientist and engineer. Dresselhaus made highly influential discoveries about the properties of carbon and other materials and helped reshape our world in countless ways – from electronics to aviation to medicine to energy. She was also a pioneer and a beloved teacher, mentor, and collaborator for women in STEM.
Weinstock in “Carbon Queen” writes, “Millie was nothing short of a hero to many in her country and around the world.” “The story of her life provides insight into the workings of an ever-expanding mind, the ongoing evolution of societal attitudes toward women and people of color in science and engineering, and the unique power of kindness.”
His path was not easy. Dresselhaus’s Bronx childhood was rough. Her graduate advisor felt that educating women was a waste of time. But Dresselhaus continued, finding mentors in Nobel Prize-winning physicists Roslyn Yalo and Enrico Fermi. Eventually, Dresselhaus became one of the first female professors at MIT, where she spent nearly six decades. Weinstock explores the fundamentals of Dresselhaus’s work in carbon nanoscience, describing how he identified key properties of carbon forms, including graphite, buckyballs, nanotubes, and graphene, from a lighter, stronger plane to a more energy-efficient one. and flexible electronics.
On March 24, MIT Press will collaborate with MIT libraries in a special event celebrating the book. The event, free and open to the public, will also be attended by Evelyn Hu, professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Harvard University, and will take place in the nexus of the Hayden Library.
The publication of “Carbon Queen” was supported by the MIT Press Fund for Diverse Voices. The fund helps fund new work by authors who bring exclusionary and chronically underrepresented perspectives to fields in the sciences, arts, and humanities to be published by the press.