Intellectual, innovator, and educator

May 30, 2018
Charles M. Lieber Named University Professor

Professor Charles M. Lieber awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from The University of Chicago


Honorary degrees recognize leaders and inventors alike. Professor Charles M. Lieber is both. According to the nominating committee, he earned his Honorary Degree for two distinct reasons: "pioneering work in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology" and "profound contributions as an intellectual, innovator, and educator."

Lieber, the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and CCB's current Department Chair, pioneered the rational synthesis of a broad range of nanoscale, wire-like materials and their applications in electronics, computing, biology, medicine, and beyond.

In particular, Lieber has led the field of nano-bioelectronics. He created nanowire electronic devices with powerful capabilities for ultra-sensitive, real-time detection of cancer markers and viruses. He also developed the first nanoscale transistor tools, which can monitor and modulate the behavior of individual cardiac and neuron cells. Most recently, Lieber designed mesh electronics, which seamlessly integrate in the brain to monitor neural activity, stimulate tissues, and even promote regeneration of neurons.

The University of Chicago's award letter, excerpted below, conveys the high esteem and respect that Lieber engenders in his colleagues:

"Charles M. Lieber is best known for defining several groundbreaking paradigms of nanoscience that are now in wide use within that research community. These advances in nanoscience and nanomaterials have had a profound impact on a diverse range of technologies, including conventional and quantum computing, optoelectronics, energy science, and medicine.
His current research focus is transforming neuroscience with novel nano-materials and new interdisciplinary methods for creating implantable soft arrays for electrodes for deep brain recording and stimulation."


Charles M. Lieber


Lieber’s work has been recognized by a number of awards, including two National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Awards, the MRS Von Hippel Award, the Willard Gibbs Medal and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a fellow of the Materials Research Society and American Chemical Society, and honorary fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. In addition, Lieber is co-editor of the journal Nano Letters, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of a number of other journals. He has published over 395 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is the principal inventor on more than 40 patents.

This list, rich but incomplete, provides just a snapshot view of Lieber's wide and resonant impact.

The University of Chicago will bestow honorary degrees to five receipients, Lieber included, at their Convocation on Saturday, June 9. 


Read the University of Chicago's Press Release