Who Is Sumita Mitra, The Indian-American Chemist Wins European Inventor Award 2021?

women in science 2021 ,Who is Sumita Mitra, Sumita Mitra
Who is Sumita Mitra: Indian-American chemist Sumita Mitra has been honoured with the European Inventor Award this year. It is one of the most prestigious innovation prizes in Europe, IANS reported on Friday.

Mitra has won the award in the non-European Patent Office (EPO)countries category for her application of nanotechnology in dentistry. Her invention uses nanomaterials as a dental filler.

Mitra was earlier nominated as a finalist for successfully integrating nanoparticles into the production of dental materials, leading to the creation of a new composite to repair teeth. Her invention has many advantages over conventional materials. It has been successfully commercialised and used in more than one billion tooth restorations by dentists around the world. Mitra’s invention, according to EPO president António Campinos, takes what was an emerging technology at the time – nanotechnology – and applies it to a new sector to provide a solution for dentists and relief for patients.

Campinos noted, “Her invention remains commercially successful nearly 20 years after its launch – another reason why she is an inspiration to the next generation of scientists.” the Tribune India reported. Read more on her invention here.

Who is Sumita Mitra?

Sumita Mitra is a partner at Mitra Chemical Consulting, LLC. She started the company with her husband Smarajit Mitra after leaving 3M Company in 2010. She received her PhD in organic/polymer chemistry from the University of Michigan. She then joined 3M in 1978 and by 1998 she attained the position of corporate scientist for the company. Mitra worked with a team of researchers at 3M to develop nanomers and nanoclusters as filler compounds in a composite that could be handled as a paste but could be cured to provide superior long-term optical qualities. She was part of a team responsible for the development of Filtek dental restorative material.

Her contributions to this field of research are remarkable as she continued to work in the field of chemical engineering through her work with Mitra Chemical Consulting. Her company provides guidance on new technology development, product design, commercialisation, mergers and acquisitions. She was named the American Chemical Society Hero of Chemistry in 2009 and inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mitra was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2021 for her work related to inventions in nanotechnology for use in dental materials. Some of the other awards she received include a Hollenback Memorial Prize from the Academy of Operative Dentistry in 2020, a Peyton-Skinner Award for Innovation in Dental Materials from the International Association of Dental Research in 2012 and a Top 25 Women in Dentistry Award in 2010. Mitra was elected to the 3M Carlton Society in 1998, the highest 3M award given for lifelong contribution to R&D.

On using nanotechnology to make a new material for dental fillings, Mitra said, “It restores peoples smiles and improves the quality of their lives.” Read all about this Indian woman scientist who is impacting the Aerospace industry here.

Feature Image Credit: IANS Pictures