Institute Professor Emerita Mildred Dresselhaus visited the White House on Monday, May 7, to receive the Enrico Fermi Award — one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology honors bestowed by the U.S. government.
Dresselhaus shared the honor with Stanford University's Burton Richter '52, PhD '56, and the two met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office prior to a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan International Center, where Secretary of Energy Steven Chu presented the awards.
The Enrico Fermi Award includes an honorarium of $50,000, shared equally, and a gold medal. It is administered by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to "honor individuals who have given unstintingly over their careers to advance energy science, and to inspire future scientists to follow their example," according to a release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In its official award citation, the White House said Dresselhaus was selected for the Fermi Award "for leadership in condensed matter physics, in energy and scientific policy, in service to the scientific community, and in mentoring women in the sciences."
In a career spanning more than 50 years at MIT and its Lincoln Laboratory, Dresselhaus has made extensive research contributions and fundamental discoveries in condensed matter physics. She is also widely recognized for her considerable devotion to mentoring students, raising community awareness, and promoting progress on gender equity. She is widely respected as a premier mentor and advocate for women in science.
Read more about Dresselhaus's work and the Fermi award