Robert S. Langer Receives 2010 Robert Fletcher Award
The Robert Fletcher Award is given annually to a graduate or friend of Thayer School in recognition of distinguished achievement and service in the highest tradition of the School. The award is named in honor of Robert Fletcher, who was appointed by Sylvanus Thayer as the School's first professor of engineering and its first director (1871–1918). The Dean of Thayer School chooses each year's award recipient who then traditionally delivers Thayer School's Investiture speech.
The 2010 Robert Fletcher Award recipient is Dr. Robert S. Langer, biotechnology entrepreneur and David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
One of only 14 Institute Professors at MIT (the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member), Dr. Langer is the most cited engineer in history—he has written over 1,050 articles and has over 750 issued and pending patents worldwide.
He served as a member of the Science Board to the US Food and Drug Administration from 1995–2002 and as its Chairman from 1999–2002.
Langer has received over 180 major awards including the 2006 US National Medal of Science; the Charles Stark Draper Prize, and the 2008 Millennium Technology Prize. He is the also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT Prize for being "one of history's most prolific inventors in medicine."
In 1989 Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences. He is one of very few people ever elected to all three United States National Academies and the youngest in history (at age 43) to ever receive this distinction.
He received his Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from MIT in 1974, both in chemical engineering.