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Harvard Materials Research Science & Engineering Center

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Materials Research Science and Engineering Center  (Harvard University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Center supports interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

The Harvard MRSEC hosts three collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Groups as well as a seed project. The Micromechanics research group aims to elucidate important and fascinating examples of the fundamental mechanisms that control the mechanics of materials. By developing new tools and techniques, the group will address longstanding problems and explore hitherto unexplained behavior of several important classes of material. The Droplet Templated Materials research group uses droplet-based microfluidics to fabricate new materials ranging from designer emulsions to particle-based materials precisely constructed within droplets, droplets with precisely tuned internal properties and shapes, and new methodologies for creating tailored fiber-based materials. The Active Soft Materials research group develops new materials and new components for use in soft systems, including robotics, foldable motors, and muscle-like actuators. The Harvard MRSEC uses its seed project to fund emerging areas such as developing new materials for photocatalytic processes or to study the behavior of cells that can lead to high-impact, transformational research, allowing rapid response to evolving ideas and that will move the Center in new directions.

Education & Outreach

The Center has a strong commitment to education and public engagement. The Early Awareness Outreach Program in the Cambridge public schools brings the city's seventh-grade students to Harvard to learn about college education from faculty and students. MRSEC-associated faculty each give a short demonstration of some interesting research results to help inspire interest in materials research. MRSEC faculty and researchers also give annual Holiday lectures work with the Boston Museum of Science to present hands-on demonstrations. The Center's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program allows undergraduates to spend ten weeks in the summer doing research in Center laboratories. The Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program introduces public school teachers to ongoing MRSEC research and develops connections with public schools.

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  • Image from an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
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