The “queen of carbon science,” Mildred Dresselhaus, has passed away at the age of 86.

Dresselhaus was a recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Science, solidifying her role as a leader in the scientific community and an advocate for women in STEM.

Among her scientific contributions, Dresselhaus is perhaps most known for playing a key role in unlocking the mysteries of carbon. Her contributions to fundamental research in the electronic structure of semi-materials and initial insight into fullerenes have made an extensive impact on the scientific community.

“We lost a giant — an exceptionally creative scientist and engineer who was also a delightful human being,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote in a statement. “Among her many ‘firsts,’ in 1968, Millie became the first woman at MIT to attain the rank of full, tenured professor. She was the first solo recipient of a Kavli Prize and the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering.”