Hamlin Jennings, professor from Northwestern University, will lead MIT's CSH

May 5, 2010

By Denise Brehm
Civil & Environmental Engineering

Hamlin Jennings, who is known among academic and industry researchers for his influential work on the fundamental chemistry of cement, will be the inaugural executive director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH), a research center established last fall at MIT in collaboration with the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Ready Mixed Concrete (RMC) Research & Education Foundation.

Jennings will leave a tenured faculty position at Northwestern University to lead the CSH, taking up his new responsibilities at MIT beginning July 1, where he will also hold the position of adjunct professor in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, administrative home of the CSH.

Hamlin Jennings is widely recognized as a pre-eminent researcher and leader in the field of cement chemistry,” said Professor Andrew Whittle, head of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “His research experience and intellectual stature, as well as his own passion for the goals of the Concrete Sustainability Hub make him the perfect person to take on leadership of this important new initiative. We are delighted he has agreed to join us at MIT.”

Jennings developed the first fully quantitative model of the nanostructure of calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), the major component of hydrated cement. This model formed a basis for quantitatively predicting the mechanical properties of the material and linking these properties to the design of new materials. He currently holds appointments in civil and environmental engineering and in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University (NU), and was head of NU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2002 to 2006.

“MIT has assembled an extraordinarily gifted team of scientists and engineers with the express objective of transforming our understanding of a complete materials science approach to cement and concrete,” said Jennings, who is a native Bostonian. “While this is complex and ambitious, it will lead to new strategies for addressing global issues, such as improving durability and other properties while reducing the carbon and energy footprints. My goals and those of the CSH are so well aligned that even though it means leaving the stimulating environment of No