Instructor
Markus Buehler

Markus J. Buehler

Jerry McAfee (1940) Professor of Engineering, MIT

Markus J. Buehler is the McAfee Professor of Engineering at MIT. Involved with startups, innovation and a frequent collaborator with industry, his primary research interest is to identify and apply innovative approaches to design better materials from less, using a combination of high-performance computing and AI, new manufacturing techniques, and advanced experimental testing.  He directs the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM), and is Principal Investigator on numerous national and international research programs. He combines bio-inspired materials design with high-throughput approaches to create materials with architectural features from the nano- to the macro-scale, and applies them to various domains that include composites for vehicles, coatings for energy technologies, and innovative and sustainable biomaterials. Using an array of theoretical, computational and experimental methods, his work seeks to understand the means by which nature creates materials, with applications in bio-inspired engineering. His most recent book, Biomateriomics, presents a new design paradigm for the analysis of biomaterials using a categorization approach that translates insights from disparate fields. In recent work he has developed a new framework to compose music based on proteins – the basic molecules of all life, as well as other physical phenomena such as fracture singularities, to explore similarities and differences across species, scales and between philosophical and physical models.  One of his goals is to use musical and sound design, aided by AI, as an abstract way to model, optimize and create new forms of autonomous matter from the bottom up – across scales (e.g., from nano to macro) and species (e.g., from humans to spiders). His work spans multiple disciplines and straddles the interface of science and art in multiple dimensions, both as a tool to educate and as a tool to understand and design.

Buehler is a sought-after lecturer and has given hundreds of invited, keynote, and plenary talks throughout the world. His scholarly work is highly-cited and includes more than 450 articles on computational materials science, biomaterials, and nanotechnology, many in high-impact journals such as Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He authored two monographs in the areas of computational materials science and bio-inspired materials design, and is a founder of the emerging research area of materiomics. He is a dedicated educator and a gifted teacher, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows to explain the impact of his research to broad audiences. Buehler is the recipient of many awards including the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, the Alfred Noble Prize, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the Leonardo da Vinci Award, and the Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the United States Air Force Young Investigator Award, the Navy Young Investigator Award, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). In 2016 Prof. Buehler was awarded the the Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for his advances in nanotechnology. In 2018, Buehler was selected as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics. In 2019, he received the Materials Horizons Outstanding Paper Prize, and his work was recognized as a highly cited author by the Royal Society of Chemistry. A frequent collaborator with artists, he is a member of the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST) Executive Committee. Buehler is heavily involved with startups and innovation, such as through his role on the Board of Directors of Sweetwater Energy, Inc. and as a member of the Scientific Advisor Board of Safar Partners (A Technology Venture Fund with Private Equity Vision). 

Links & Resources

Machine-learning tool could help develop tougher materials

Q&A: Markus Buehler on setting coronavirus and AI-inspired proteins to music

Translating proteins into music, and back

Conch shells spill the secret to their toughness

Smoothing out the wrinkles in graphene

Researchers design one of the strongest, lightest materials known

Researchers decode molecule that gives living tissues their flexibility 

How to build better silk

Worm-inspired material strengthens, changes shape in response to its environment

Silk-based filtration material breaks barriers

New analysis explains collagen’s force

Sweetwater Energy, Inc. 

Scientific Advisor Board, Safar Partners (A Technology Venture Fund with Private Equity Vision)