Frances Mazze Hurwitz currently is a Senior Materials Research Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, USA. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Harpur College, State University of New York at Binghamton, and M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Macromolecular Science from Case Western Reserve University. She has been employed by NASA since 1979.
Dr. Hurwitz has been recognized for leadership in polymer-derived ceramics, ceramic matrix composites and interfaces and the development of high temperature thermal protection systems, including ultralightweight high temperature aerogels and their composites. She served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, and led microstructural characterization of flown Space Shuttle Wing Leading Edge materials, contributing to Return to Flight of the Shuttle Orbiter. She has served on numerous technical advisory committees for various DARPA/AF programs focuses on the development of ceramic matrix composites, as well as on the Advisory Committee of the High Performance Polymers and Ceramics Center (HIPPAC), Clark-Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA under a NASA HBCU Program 1992-2000. She has mentored numerous entry level engineers and NASA Pathways interns, as well as more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Hurwitz is the recipient of the 2014 Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award, the NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal (2015) “For exceptional development of broadly applicable aerogel technology for advanced insulation capable of 1200˚C use temperature,” and the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement (2000) for “Exceptional scientific and leadership contributions that have had major impacts on several NASA and Department of Defense National Ceramics Programs.”
Dr. Hurwitz is a member of the Engineering Ceramics and Basic Science Divisions of ACerS, has served as an organizer of Thermal Protection Materials Symposia, and has chaired numerous sessions at ACerS conferences dating from 1988.
Her current interests lie in the development of aerogels and aerogel composites for use at high temperatures and in extreme environments, including in seals, gaskets, thermal and fire protection systems and thermoelectric power systems.