Celebrating the Life of Art Smith, 1929 – 2010

Comments from Mildred (Millie) Dresselhaus

“I got to know Art Smith in 1967. He came to MIT in 1959; I came in 1960. We worked in a similar research field. We both had PhDs in Physics– he from Harvard and I from the University of Chicago. He joined EECS in 1959 as an assistant professor and I came to Lincoln Labs as a research in the Solid State Division.

Art’s focus in teaching was solid state physics and devices. His research focus was electronic properties of solids, electron transport and thermoelectric energy conversion. I was also working on electronic materials and optical and magnetic properties of solids. Later in 1990 I moved into Thermoelectricity at the nanoscale to make thermoelectric devices more efficient. I am still working on them.

Art and I were both active musicians–he on the trumpet and I on violin. He encouraged me to make music with the students. Art also supported me in working with students. I was the first woman faculty in EECS and Art supported the work I did with women students.

Art was fully devoted to MIT in every way, but particularly to undergraduate and graduate students.

He was a gentle soul, always there to help others in need.”

– Millie Dresselhaus

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One Response to “Celebrating the Life of Art Smith, 1929 – 2010”

  1. Larry Stabile says:

    I knew Professor Smith as an undergraduate student, in 6.08 (Stat Mech and Thermo). I had heard that the course was difficult from fellow students, so I was a bit anxious before it started. Largely due to Art Smith, it was one of the best courses I took at the Institute. His lucid style, well-planned lectures, and thorough recitation classes made the subject matter very clear and interesting. To this day the concepts are still interesting and illuminating, though that class was many, many years ago. He is certainly one professor I will not forget, and in retrospect I would have been better off had I taken even more of his courses.

    Larry Stabile, EE ’74

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