American Institute of Physics Gives the Science Communications Award to Professor Susan Hockfield

Susan Hockfield, a professor of neuroscience, and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the 2020 Science Communications Award from the American Institute of Physics.

Professor Hockfield was honored for her book, The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution, published in April 2019 by W.W. Norton & Company. The work celebrates the people and science stories behind the “convergence revolution,” which integrated the life sciences with engineering and the physical sciences to reshape the scientific enterprise. The book describes how researchers from many disciplines are transforming elements of the natural world, such as proteins, viruses, and biological signaling pathways, into “living” solutions for some of the most important — and challenging — needs of the 21st century, such as providing sufficient energy, food, water, and health care for the world’s growing population.

The judges at the American inStitute of Physics stated that the book provides “a balance of information without overloading the reader” and called it a “joy to read, both interesting and entertaining.”

From 2004 to 2012, Professor Hockfield served as the 16th president of MIT, the first life scientist and the first woman in that role. As a biologist, she pioneered the use of monoclonal antibody technology in brain research, identifying proteins that affect brain development through neural activity early in life.

Before assuming the presidency of MIT, Dr. Hockfield was the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and provost at Yale University. She joined the Yale faculty in 1985 and was named full professor in 1994.

Dr. Hockfield earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco in 1979-80, and then joined the scientific staff at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York in 1980.

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