Gang Chen

Mechanical Engineering
Dedicated to student growth


Professor Gang Chen’s dedication to his students leads him to be a mentor, a role model, and a resource of support to many. One of his nominators describes, “Professor Chen is the hardest working person I know, and the majority of his time is spent developing those around him.” The nominator describes how Prof. Chen was able to strike a balance between challenging the student toward greater professional development and acting as an emotional ally. “The advisor-student relationship is inherently stressful, and Gang was able to simultaneously be supportive yet set high expectations.”

Gang’s commitment goes beyond cultivating their academic success; he nurtures the whole person to ensure his students are in their best state of mind and able to reach their full potential. Another nominator says, “Even as a busy department head, he meets with me at least once a week to talk about interesting work, any progress I have made, or even my ups and downs in life… He has cared a lot about my daily life.” Gang’s student describes further, “As an international student, I feel lonely sometimes. This Thanksgiving, Gang and his family prepared a delicious Thanksgiving meal to treat us. We even played Frisbee together and had great fun.”

Many of Gang’s students who have been through difficult personal situations have felt his deep commitment to their growth, health, and success. One nominator who went through a very trying personal time describes Gang as tremendously supportive. Gang became an important part of this student’s support network – discussing the situation and reassuring the student for being mature enough to reach out for help. The nominator says, “For his support, I will be forever thankful.”

Gang Chen is the head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering, and is the director of the Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center. Gang’s research focuses on thermal energy conversion and nanoscale transport. His work has led to significant advances in fundamental understanding of heat transfer in nanostructures and thermoelectric materials with applications in converting solar and thermal energy into electricity, and water treatment and desalination. As a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of ASME, the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Gang’s many awards also include the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award, R&D magazine’s 100 Award, and the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising.

“I can tell that deep in his heart,” one nominators says, “his love for contributing to MIT is profound.” We thank Gang for his incredible commitment to student life at MIT.