Joseph M. DeSimone

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Chemistry

For pioneering innovations in material science that led to the development of technologies in diverse fields from manufacturing to medicine; and for innovative and inclusive leadership in higher education and entrepreneurship.

For pioneering innovations in material science that led to the development of technologies in diverse fields from manufacturing to medicine; and for innovative and inclusive leadership in higher education and entrepreneurship.

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Birth
May 16, 1964
Age Awarded
49
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Environmentally-Friendly Manufacturing Process for High Performance Plastics
Novel Drug Delivery System for Cancer Treatment
Awarded by
Barack Obama
Education
Ursinus College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Areas of Impact
Energy & Environment
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
Carbon3D
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
North Carolina State University
Other Prizes
Lemelson-MIT Prize
I

In the movie “Terminator 2,” the robot T-1000 takes shape from a puddle of metallic goo, rising from the ground to form the shape of a human.

It’s this scene that inspired Joseph DeSimone and his colleagues to pioneer a method of 3-D printing that’s 25 to 100 times faster than existing technology, which – much like an inkjet printer – uses computers to produce objects by stacking thin layers of material.

“3-D printing is actually a misnomer,” DeSimone said at a TedX talk in 2015. “It’s actually 2-D printing over and over again … There are mushrooms that grow faster than 3-D printed parts.”

DeSimone’s technique, called “continuous liquid interface production,” allows objects – just like the T-1000 – to rise from a pool of resin.

The technology uses pulses of light, which solidify the resin, and bursts of oxygen, which prevent the material from hardening, to create objects at a speed competitive with traditional manufacturing.

Outside the laboratory, DeSimone is known for his work as a mentor, having guided more than 30 underrepresented minority students through the completion of Ph.D.s in chemistry or chemical engineering.

In 2005, he joined a former mentee to launch a chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers on the University of North Carolina’s campus.

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