Gang Chen is the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He served as the Department Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT from 2013 to 2018. He obtained his PhD degree from the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. He was a faculty member at Duke University and UCLA, before joining MIT in 2001. He received an NSF Young Investigator Award, an R&D 100 award, an ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award, an ASME Frank Kreith Award in Energy, a Nukiyama Memorial Award by the Japan Heat Transfer Society, a World Technology Network Award in Energy, an Eringen medal from the Society of Engineering Science, and the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellences in Mentoring and Advising from MIT. He is a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He serves on the board of the Asian American Scholar Forum ( He is an academician of Academy Sinica, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and a member of the US National Academy of Science.

Research Interests

Dr. Chen employs experimental, theoretical, and numerical tools to study fundamental thermal energy conversion and transport mechanisms at micro- and nanometer scales. He also applied the fundamental understandings to advance efficiency of different energy conversion technologies such as thermoelectric, photovoltaic, thermophotovoltaic, and thermo-ionic energy conversion. He researched on high performance thermal materials with low and high thermal conductivities for thermal management, and semiconductors with high mobilities. He worked on thermal radiation, electromagnetic metamaterials, and nanofabrication. His current research focus is on understanding transport in water and soft materials, photomolecular effect and its applications in atmospheric water cycle and global warming, desalination and waste water treatment, and drying; efficient atmospheric water harvesting and air-conditioning.

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Primary Section

Section 31: Engineering Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences