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Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer Lewis

Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering | Harvard University | Class of 1986

Jennifer Lewis is where she is today — acclaimed Harvard professor, patent-holding 3D printing pioneer, member of the national academies of science, and engineering, and inventors — thanks in part to one particularly inspiring UI instructor.

“I owe a great deal to Professor David Payne, who taught a course on Ceramics Processing Science that I took during my senior year at Illinois,” says Lewis, both a UI alumna and 22-year former faculty member.

“The course used a text book — ‘Ceramics Fabrication Processes,’ written by Frank Wang — and whenever he referred to this book, he would say: ‘Just remember Wang is wrong and Wong is right,’ regarding how to pronounce the author’s last name.

“He is retired now, but his course sparked my passion for colloidal processing of ceramics and led me to pursue that field during my Ph.D. research at MIT.

“David was both a deep scholar and a gentleman. He grew up in England and through his connections, he arranged for me to spend a summer at the University of Leeds doing research.

“He was also instrumental in recruiting me to Illinois, where I started my own academic career as a young (26-year-old) assistant professor.”

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