Lorna J. Gibson likes to look at structure. In her research, the Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering works on the cellular level, studying biological materials, such as plant and animal tissues—e.g., wood, cork, trabecular bone—in order to design and develop new honeycombs and foams that can be used for more efficient insulation, construction panels, energy absorption and tissue regeneration. Outside of the lab, Gibson has looked at MIT’s conditions for women faculty, focusing on issues such as recruitment, mentoring and daycare availability. While the initial impetus for change on campus was gender-specific, what Gibson discovered and what ended up happening was that improving and strengthening those lagging areas improved and strengthened the university for everyone.
For the full article and video of Prof. Gibson discussing her research, her books, and the changing roles of women in science, see the ILP website.