Robert C. Armstrong

Director, MIT Energy Initiative
Chemical Engineering


Terra Firma or Aqua Corpus? Or, Where Best to Harness the Sun?

Terra Firma or Aqua Corpus? Or, Where Best to Harness the Sun?

Floating solar farms have been installed on reservoirs in Great Britain and Japan, but have been slow to gain a foothold in the United States. Why?

May 27, 2016Read more
Robert C. Armstrong


Robert C. Armstrong is MITEI’s director and the Chevron professor of Chemical Engineering. A member of the MIT faculty since 1973, Armstrong served as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1996 to 2007. His research interests include polymer fluid mechanics, rheology of complex materials, and energy.

In 2008, Armstrong was elected into the National Academy of Engineering for conducting outstanding research on non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, co-authoring landmark textbooks, and providing leadership in chemical engineering education. Armstrong has received the Warren K. Lewis Award and the Professional Progress Award in 1992, both from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the 2006 Bingham Medal from the Society of Rheology, which is devoted to the study of the science of deformation and flow of matter.

Armstrong was the guest editor for the summer issue (2015) of the National Academy of Engineering’s publication, The Bridge, which focused on energy, the environment, and climate change. In the Guest Editor’s note, he wrote about the challenges of meeting energy demands in environmentally responsible ways. Armstrong was a member of the Future of Solar Energy study group and co-edited Game Changers: Energy on the Move with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz.


  • Polymer Molecular Theory
  • Polymer Fluid Mechanics
  • Rheology
  • Multiscale Process Modeling
  • Transport Phenomena
  • Applied Mathematics

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April 28, 2016
MIT outlines progress on its five-year climate action plan
Progress report underscores strong collaboration across campus to address climate change.

April 15, 2016
U.S. Department of Energy leaders highlight clean energy research, career opportunities
Sustainable transportation, grid modernization, building efficiency among topics at MIT Energy Initiative event with Department of Energy's David Danielson.

April 13, 2016
MIT Energy Initiative awards nine Seed Fund grants for early-stage energy research
Winning MIT teams will use grants, totaling $1.3 million, to advance research in areas including fuel cells, solar-powered water desalination, and impacts of electric vehicle charging on the power grid.

March 15, 2016
Argonne Scientist Urges Next Generation Solar: 'We Have No Choice'
Robert Armstrong, director of MITEI, talks about the promise of perovskite solar voltaics.

March 4, 2016
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz touts great opportunities in energy
New international agreement on “Mission Innovation” could lead to major progress on climate change.

February 10, 2016
MIT Program at IHS Energy CERAWeek 2016: "Energy Transition: Strategies for a New World"
Complimentary MIT Alumni Registration for the MIT Program.

January 23, 2016
The high tech of low carbon
MIT researchers join global efforts to find ways to cut emissions.

January 13, 2016
The frontiers of energy: renewables are essential
MITEI Director Robert Armstrong urges continuous research on more efficient, cheaper technologies.

December 29, 2015
8 Tech Breakthroughs of 2015 That Could Help Power the World
Dozens of clean-energy ideas and products debuted this year that could transform how we live.

December 2, 2015
Tech Titans Launch Breakthrough Energy Coalition
MITEI Director Robert Armstrong weighs in on investing in energy startups and the recent launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition by tech leaders including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.

November 18, 2015
2015 Annual Research Conference 
Open to MITEI Members, MIT faculty, researchers, staff, students, and invited guests, the MITEI Annual Research Conference highlights elements of the MITEI research portfolio, including early results from MITEI's Seed Fund Program.

October 21, 2015
MIT announces five-year plan for action on climate change 
Hundreds of millions sought for low-carbon research; advocacy for carbon pricing; a call to the alumni and beyond.

September 29, 2015
A week of celebration and inspiration--Boston-style
At Solve, MIT will host gathering of leaders to spur action on world problems.

September 11, 2015
MIT sees solar salvation in electricity-generating buildings
That's just one of the innovations that was on display at Solar Day.

July 31, 2015
Innovation that surpasses every hurdle
An interview with Robert Armstrong, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative.

July 20, 2015
The challenges of meeting energy demands in environmentally responsible ways
MITEI Director Robert Armstrong writes for the Bridge about how to both grow energy supply and reduce carbon emissions.

July 13, 2015
Energy synergy: MIT ignites CERAWeek
MIT representatives shared emerging energy technologies at an influential conference rifle with world leaders.

July 9, 2015
Energy Synergy: MIT Ignites CERAWeek
The MIT Energy Initiative plays an integral role in IHS CERA's annual energy gathering.

June 9, 2015
MIT Energy Conference: "There is no more important issue than energy"

June 9, 2015
MIT Energy Initiative announces new seed grant awards

June 9, 2015
A letter from the director
Bob Armstrong takes a look at what we've been up to at MITEI in the past few months... and what's upcoming!

May 29, 2015
Terawatt solar farms by 2050?
MITEI Future of Solar Energy report outlines what's coming down the innovation pipeline in renewable energy.

May 18, 2015
Solar a long-term energy solution, states MIT study
According to the MIt study, the main goal of US solar policy should be to build the foundation for a massive scale-up of private and utility scale solar generation over the next few decades.

May 5, 2015
MITEI releases report on the Future of Solar Energy
Comprehensive report highlights enormous potential, technology and policy challenges for solar.

February 17, 2015
BOOK REVIEW: Game Changers: Energy on the Move
Foreign Affairs review former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and MITEI Director Robert C. Armstrong's book on the future of energy innovation.

November 26, 2014
MIT Energy Experts Discuss Technology Innovation at Atlantic Council Summit
Energy thought leaders from around the globe gather in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss technology, politics, and industry in energy innovation.

June 10, 2014
A letter from the Director
An update on activities of MIT Energy Initiative. MITEI’s research, education, campus energy, and outreach programs are spearheaded by Professor Robert C. Armstrong, director.

February 10, 2014
10 Big Changes In Energy Since The 2013 MIT Energy Conference
Around MIT, we’re used to “drinking from a fire hose,” but the pace of change can still be dizzying—particularly for those of us involved in energy. Less than 12 months ago, the MIT Energy Club hosted its premier event, the MIT Energy Conference, and in that time, a great deal has changed.

December 16, 2013
A letter from the director
An update on activities of MIT Energy Initiative. MITEI’s research, education, campus energy, and outreach programs are spearheaded by Professor Robert C. Armstrong, director.

June 20, 2013
A letter from the director
An update on activities of MIT Energy Initiative from Director Robert C. Armstrong.

May 16, 2013
Robert C. Armstrong named director of MIT Energy Initiative
Outgoing director Ernest Moniz confirmed U.S. Secretary of Energy.

March 18, 2013
Energy Technologies to Keep an Eye on (video)
"Game changer" is a term we hear often in discussions about energy. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have shaken things up lately, triggering a resurgence in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. And researchers across the nation are looking for more breakthroughs that could disrupt conventional ways of supplying and using energy. Robert Armstrong, the deputy director of the MIT Energy Initiative, discusses some technologies to watch with Chris Newkumet.