Title: Associate Director (Retired)
Company: Energy Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Auburndale, Massachusetts, United States
Elisabeth Mertz Drake, ScD, Retired Associate Director at the Energy Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Engineers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in chemical engineering.
A celebrated figure in the field of chemical engineering, Dr. Drake has accrued nearly 50 years of professional excellence in her industry. A member of the emeritus staff of the Energy Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2007, she formerly served as a consultant with MIT from 2000 to 2007, director of the Energy Laboratory at MIT from 1994 to 1995, consultant with Arthur D. Little, Inc., from 1990 to 1994, and associate director of new technology in the Energy Laboratory at MIT from 1989 to 2002. In addition to her work as a scientist, Dr. Drake has also held roles in academia, as a lecturer at University of California, Berkeley, in 1971, chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at Northeastern University from 1972 to 1976, and a visiting professor at MIT from 1973 to 1974.
Alongside her professional endeavors, Dr. Drake has been a member of the Monitor Report Review Committee of the National Research Council with the National Academy of Sciences since 2008. She acted as vice chair of the Committee on Chemical Demolition with the academy from 2004 to 2007, as well as vice chair of the Committee on Review and Evaluation on Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program from 1993 to 1998. Earlier in her career, she was a member of the Technology Pipeline Safety Standards Committee with the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1980 to 1985, as well as a member of the managing board for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers from 1988 to 1990.
In preparation for her career, Dr. Drake earned a Bachelor of Science in 1958 and a Doctor of Science in chemical engineering in 1966 from MIT. She is a registered professional engineer in the state of Massachusetts. A member of The Green Team, she invented the fractionation method and apparatus in 1972. She has also authored and coauthored several publications in professional journals, including “Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options,” published in 2005 and its second edition in 2010.
Dr. Drake maintains affiliation with numerous professional organizations, including as a board director for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers from 1987 to 1990, a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and on the membership committee of the National Academy of Engineering. She is also associated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Chemical Society, and Sigma Xi. She has been on advisory committees for the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Drake has accumulated a number of honors and accolades throughout her career. In 2002, she was honored with the Westinghouse Award for Safe Automation Based in the CCPS Book, and she was presented with the TJ Hamilton Award for Government Service by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1990.
Attributing her success to curiosity, intelligence, and hard work, Dr. Drake was interested in math and science from an early age, breaking gender roles by applying to engineering school despite the lack of women in the field. She considers a highlight of her career developing an interdisciplinary MIT graduate course on sustainable energy when climate change concerns were beginning to emerge. In her spare time, she enjoys environmental activism, gardening, listening to music, and reading. Dr. Drake has been listed in several honors publications, including Who’s Who in Finance and Business, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who of American Women.