The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies: Taking Nanotechnology from the Laboratory to the Soldier
Edwin L. Thomas
June 7, 2003
A U.S. Army soldier carries more than 100 pounds of gear into battle. What can be done to lighten the load, while still providing maximum protection? Edwin Thomas, Director of MIT’s new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, describes an alternative to the past practice of “dressing up a soldier like a Christmas tree”. He describes instead, a dynamic battle suit that wards off bullets and biochemical threats while providing real-time data on the soldier’s medical condition. Thomas, who spent time training for this project at Fort Polk, explains how interdisciplinary teams are exploring nanomaterial designs that could also benefit civilian emergency responders.
About the Speaker
Edwin L. Thomas
Director, Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT School of Engineering
Edwin Thomas is Director of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, a $50 million collaboration between the United States Army, MIT, and corporate partners. At ISN, he is co-leader of two teams focused on energy absorbing materials and the integration and transitioning of technology systems. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Cornell University. He received the National Science Foundation’s Special Creativity Award in 1996 and 1988, the High Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society, and the American Chemical Society’s Creative Polymer Chemist Award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.