Charles M. Lieber was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1959. He attended Franklin and Marshall College for his undergraduate education and graduated with honors in Chemistry. After doctoral studies at Stanford University and postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, he moved to the East Coast in 1987 to assume the position of Assistant Professor at Columbia University. Here Lieber embarked upon a new research program addressing the synthesis and properties of low-dimensional materials. He moved to Harvard University in 1991 and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor. He also serves as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Lieber has been a pioneer in nanoscience and nanotechnology where he has originated new paradigms that have defined the rational growth, characterization, and original applications of functional nanometer diameter wires and heterostructures. Lieber has provided seminal concepts central to the bottom-up paradigm of nanoscience, and has been a leader in defining directions and demonstrating applications of nanomaterials in areas ranging from electronics, computing, and photonics, as well as pioneering the interface between electronics with biology and medicine, including his current focus in brain science.
Lieber’s work has been recognized by a number of awards, including the Welch Award in Chemistry (2019); John Gamble Kirkwood Award, Yale University (2018); NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2017 and 2008); MRS Von Hippel Award (2016); Remsen Award (2016); Nano Research Award, Tsinghua University Press/Springer (2013); IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award (2013); Willard Gibbs Medal (2013); Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2012); Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience (2010); Inorganic Nanoscience Award of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry (2009); Einstein Award, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008); NBIC Research Excellence Award, University of Pennsylvania (2007); Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Award (2005); ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials (2004); World Technology Award in Materials (2004 and 2003); Scientific American 50 Award in Nanotechnology and Molecular Electronics (2003); New York Intellectual Property Law Association Inventor of the Year (2003); APS McGroddy Prize for New Materials (2003); Harrison Howe Award, University of Rochester (2002); MRS Medal (2002); Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (2001); NSF Creativity Award (1996); and ACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1992).
Lieber is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Materials Research Society and American Chemical Society (Inaugural Class), Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society, and member of the American Physical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Society for Optical Engineering and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Lieber is Co-Editor of Nano Letters, and serves on the Editorial and Advisory Boards of a large number of science and technology journals.
Lieber has published over 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the principal inventor on more than 50 patents. In his spare time, Lieber has been active in commercializing nanotechnology, and founded the nanotechnology company Nanosys, Inc. in 2001 and the new nanosensor company Vista Therapeutics in 2007.