Director of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies
John D. Joannopoulos is the director of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics at MIT. The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies is a team of MIT, Army and industry partners working together to discover and field technologies that dramatically advance Soldier protection and survivability capabilities.
J. Joannopoulos received his and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California in 1968 and 1974 respectively.
He is the director of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, a position he has held since 2006. J. Joannopoulos has been on the Faculty of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as Assistant Professor of Physics (1974), Associate Professor of Physics (1978), Professor of Physics (1983) and was awarded the Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics Chair in 1996.
The research of Prof. Joannopoulos spans in two major directions. The first is devoted to creating a realistic and microscopic theoretical description of the properties of material systems. His approach is fundamental to predicting geometric, electronic and dynamical structure, ab-initio—that is, given only the atomic numbers of the constituent atoms as experimental input. Ab-initio investigations are invaluable because they can stand on their own, complement experimental observations, and probe into regimes inaccessible to experiment. The second major direction involves the development of a new class of materials called photonic crystals, which are designed to affect the properties of photons in much the same way that semiconductors affect the properties of electrons. These materials provide a new dimension in the ability to control and mold the flow of light.
The Greek professor is the author and coauthor of over 590 refereed scientific journal articles, three textbooks on photonic crystals and holds over 80 issued U.S. Patents. He is also the co-founder of four startup companies: OmniGuide, Inc.; Luminus Devices, Inc.; WiTricity Corporation; and Typhoon HIL, Inc.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and currently serves as its Chair of Applied Physical Sciences. J. Joannopoulos is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Prof. Joannopoulos is the recipient of several prestigious awards, among them are: the 2015 American Physical Society’s Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics, the world’s top prize in its field, the 2015 Optical Society of America’s Max Born Award, the David Adler Award of the American Physical Society in 1997, the William Buechner Teaching Prize of the MIT Department of Physics in 1996 and the MIT School of Science Graduate Teaching Award in 1991.