Video recorded in 2001 and interviewed by Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto, scientist Mildred Dresselhaus was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in a poor section of the Bronx. She was a Fullbright Fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University (UK) in 1951-52 and obtained a PhD at the University of Chicago in 1958. Millie and her husband Gene both worked at the Lincoln Labs where her research led to a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure of semimetals, especially graphite. With 4 young children, in 1967, she was invited to MIT for a year, and soon became a tenured professor there.
A leader in promoting opportunities for women in science and engineering, Dresselhaus received a Carnegie Foundation grant in 1973 to encourage women`s study of traditionally male dominated fields, such as physics. She was appointed to The Abby Rockefeller Mauze chair, an Institute-wide chair, endowed in support of the scholarship of women in science and engineering. In 2000 she acted as chief science advisor to Bill Clinton.
Her recent research interests are in nanoscience and nanotechnology.