Gang Chen is a principal investigator (2022, 2020 and 2016) within the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is also the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering. He joined the MIT faculty in 2001, where he previously served as head of the department of mechanical engineering from 2013 to 2018 and director of the Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Centre for the US Department of Energy (EFRC) from 2009 to 2018.
Gang is considered a pioneer in nanoscale heat transfer and energy conversion, his work has significantly contributed to the understanding of heat transfer and energy conversion mechanisms. He has developed high-performance thermoelectric materials, superior semiconductors, highly heat-conductive polymers and water desalination materials, and advanced solar-thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. His 2022 J-WAFS-funded research developed a low-energy method to use sunlight to desalinate water, while his 2020 J-WAFS research aimed to develop a new technology for cost-effective and energy-efficient atmospheric water extraction.
His work has received wide recognition, including an NSF Young Investigator Award, an R&D 100 award, the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award, the Frank Kreith Energy Award, the Nukiyama Memorial Award by the Japan Heat Transfer Society, a World Technology Network Award in Energy, an Eringen Medal from the Society of Engineering Science and the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising from MIT. In 2022, he received a Bose Research Grant 'for ambitious ideas' from MIT.
In 2023, Gang was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, APS, ASME and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is an academician of Academia Sinica and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China and his PhD from UC Berkeley.