John Hart, MIT professor of mechanical engineering, has been named the new head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, effective July 1.
“John has played a vital role shaping MIT’s manufacturing ecosystem over the past decade. He is also tremendously dedicated to the mechanical engineering community at MIT,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Over the years, he has demonstrated strong leadership as a researcher, educator, and entrepreneur. I look forward to welcoming John to the School of Engineering’s leadership team.”
Hart SM ’02, PhD ’06 serves as the director of both the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity and the MIT Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies. His research team, the MIT Mechanosynthesis Group, focuses on additive manufacturing, nanostructured materials, precision machine design, and automation.
In 2021, Hart founded the Manufacturing@MIT Working Group. This group has brought leaders from academia, government, and industry together with the MIT community to discuss the future of production. This academic year, the Manufacturing@MIT distinguished speaker series has hosted, among others, the CEO of Intel and the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.
Hart has made significant advances in fields including 3D printing, carbon nanomaterials, and printed electronics. Along with several MIT colleagues, he co-founded Desktop Metal, and, with Martin Feldmann MEng ’14, he co-founded VulcanForms, which has commercialized industrial-scale additive manufacturing equipment and end-to-end digital production systems.
Hart is also an accomplished and dedicated educator, and was recognized with the MIT Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching in Mechanical Engineering in 2017 and the MIT Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education in 2018.
In 2000, Hart earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. For his graduate studies, he enrolled at MIT, where he earned a master’s degree and PhD in mechanical engineering in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Prior to joining the MIT faculty in 2013, he served as assistant professor of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and art/design at the University of Michigan.
Hart succeeds Rohit Karnik, the Tata Professor, and Pierre Lermusiaux, the Nam P. Suh Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who have served as co-interim department heads since Evelyn Wang, the Ford Foundation Professor of Engineering, stepped down as department head in December 2022 to lead the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).
“I’d like to express my gratitude to Rohit and Pierre for their strong leadership during this period of transition for the department. As both associate department heads and co-interim department heads, their contributions to the mechanical engineering community at MIT have been substantial,” adds Chandrakasan.