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Sossina Haile

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Information about Sossina Haile

Profile image of Sossina Haile

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
99 percent perspiration, 1 percent inspiration.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1966
Birth Location:
Addis Adeba,

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
99 percent perspiration, 1 percent inspiration.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1966
Birth Location:
Addis Adeba
See how Sossina Haile is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Sossina Haile was born on July 28, 1966 in Ethiopia. After her family left Africa during an uprising in the 1970s, Haile grew up in Minnesota. She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she received her B.S. degree in 1986. She went on to receive her M.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. While in school, Haile received the AT&T Cooperative Research Fellowship and the Fulbright Fellowship to continue her studies. The Fulbright, along with a Humboldt Fellowship the following year, allowed her to study at the Max Palnck Institute für Festkörperforschung in Germany.

Upon receiving her Ph.D. degree, Haile assumed an assistant professorship at the University of Washington, Seattle where she stayed until 1996 when she joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology. Her research group investigates ionic conduction in solid materials with applications to batteries and fuel cells. Haile is known for her work with the latter - in the 1990s she fabricated the first solid-acid fuel cell in her lab, regarded as a gateway to more powerful, commercial cells. In comparison to other fuel cells, Haile’s is unique for its creation of energy at hot enough to be efficient, but not so hot as to be expensive. In 2003, two of her graduate students created Superprotonic, a company focused on fuel cells, with Haile as science adviser. Most recently, Haile has received recognition for developing new ways of using solar energy to make fuels like hydrogen and methane.

Haile is the recipient of the NSF National Young Investigator Award (1994-1999) and the 2001 J.B. Wagner Award from the High Temperature Materials Division of the Electrochemical Society. Newsweek Magazine named her one of “12 people to watch in 2008,” and in 2010, Haile won both the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists and the Chow Foundation Humanitarian Award.


Haile lives with her two children and spouse in southern California.

Haile was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on …

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sossina Haile's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile talks about her mother's growing up in Ethiopia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile talks about her mother's religious background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile talks about Italian and Ethiopian relations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile talks about her father's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile talks about Haile Selassie, the former Emperor of Ethiopia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sossina Haile talks about her father's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sossina Haile talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sossina Haile talks about her parent's courtship and marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile describes her earliest childhood memory and growing up in Ethiopia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile describes the sights, sounds and smells of her growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile talks about her family's involvement in the church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile talks about the Ethiopian system of education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile talks about her family's fleeing from Ethiopia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile talks about her experience at Sanford English School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sossina Haile describes the cultural differences of Ethiopia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile discusses energy in Ethiopia and her immigration to the United States
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile describes her new life in the United States
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile describes her social environment in Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile describes her early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile contrasts Ethiopian schools with American schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile describes her early interest in science
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile describes her impressions of Minnesota's weather
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile talks about her social life in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sossina Haile talks about her decision to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile discusses the field of material science and how she chose to pursue it
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile talks about her professor, Gus Witt
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile describes her political activism at MIT
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile talks about her perceptions of African Americans in college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile talks about MIT students and faculty
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile talks about her graduate work at MIT and Berkeley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile discusses her time at Bell Laboratories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile talks about her Fulbright Fellowship
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sossina Haile talks about her time at the Max Planck Institute in Germany
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sossina Haile describes her doctoral research
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile talks about her second year in Germany and her return to the United States
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile talks about her move to the California Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile talks about her groundbreaking discovery of solid acid fuel cells
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile talks about the political aspect of alternative energy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile shares her perspective on the future of alternative energy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile discusses the applications of fuel cells
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile describes water splitting
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile talks about honors she has received
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sossina Haile talks about drinking tailpipe emissions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Sossina Haile talks about the Superprotonic Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sossina Haile talks about Safcell
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sossina Haile talks about her awards
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sossina Haile discusses her work on fuel cells
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sossina Haile talks about the electric car
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sossina Haile talks about her return to Ethiopia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sossina Haile shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sossina Haile reflects on her career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sossina Haile talks about her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sossina Haile describes her family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Sossina Haile tells how she would like to be remembered