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ChE alum receives Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Miles Barr

Miles C. Barr received the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize March 8, 2012, for his innovative solar technologies and creativity.

Barr received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2012 and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Practice in 2008. Barr is honored alongside the 2012 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize winners from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Barr’s most recent inventive breakthrough — a pioneering approach to fabricating solar cells on a variety of everyday surfaces — could lead to widespread adoption of solar power. Barr’s approach, which enables solar cells to be printed directly on common materials like paper and textiles, could reduce the cost of solar energy by eliminating the need for specialized installation.

Miles Barr was an imaginative risk taker from an early age. Refusing to be constrained by the limits of any one interest area, he immersed himself in a variety of subject matters completing majors in chemical engineering, mathematics and music as an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University. Barr’s passion for diverse influences remains at the core of his approach to invention today.

“Miles Barr is a terrific example of how not just science and math majors, but individuals with a multitude of interests can be successful inventors. We celebrate students like Miles, those with wide-ranging backgrounds who inspire creative thinking in others, with the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize,” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “With his passion for innovation, Miles has leveraged his diverse credentials to advance solar technology in a way that could change the world.”