Dr. Edwin L. Thomas is head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the founding director of MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, an interdepartmental research center founded in 2002 with support from the U.S. Army Research Office. The Institute’s goal is to develop and use nanotechnology to help the Army create an advanced battlesuit that dramatically improves soldiers’ survivability. In 2000, Dr. Thomas and others from MIT co-founded OmniGuide Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts company that pioneered flexible carbon dioxide laser fibers for precision surgery.
Before coming to MIT, Dr. Thomas founded and served as co-director of the Institute for Interface Science and was head of the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts. He is a recipient of the 1991 High Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society and the 1985 American Chemical Society Creative Polymer Chemist award. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1986, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003, and Inaugural Fellow of the Materials Society in 2008. He was written the undergraduate textbook, The Structure of Materials, has coauthored over 350 papers, and holds thirteen patents.