(CMR) Dr. Martha K. Williams, who grew up in Cayman Brac, has been inducted into the NASA Inventors Hall of Fame, a recognition for her outstanding contribution to the organization over the years.
According to NASA Technology Transfer Program, Dr. Williams served as a NASA Scientist for over 29 years, retiring in early 2018. Her research involved developing and evaluating advanced polymeric and composite materials and systems for meeting NASA’s spaceport and exploration technology needs.
She served as the lead polymer scientist/principal investigator, and inventor at NASA, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, until January 2018.
Her multiple interdisciplinary research activities included hydrogen sensing technologies, receiving a 2014 R&D100 Top Technology award, a NASA Commercial Invention of the Year award in 2016, and an Excellence in Technology Transfer Award in 2017.
Williams also led research efforts on low-temperature aerogel composites and switchable, adaptive thermal materials for structures and cryogenic storage and transfer. Her twenty published patents also include technologies focused on damage detection and repair technologies, self-healing systems, multiple smart wiring technologies, and fire and polymers.
A well-published author, Williams is an inventor on multiple and very diverse patents/patent applications in:
• hydrogen sensing materials
• aerogel composites
• thermal insulation materials and thermal management systems
• flame retardant additives
• wiring detection and repair systems
• damage detection systems
• microencapsulation and self-healing systems
• conductive materials/systems
From the multiple inventions, her work has resulted in seven active licenses for the NASA Kennedy Space Center Technology office, supporting NASA’s important technology transfer mission. Her visionary thinking and creative technical expertise is continued as a founding team member in a start-up, GenH2, a liquid hydrogen infrastructure solutions company.
While at NASA, Williams received many awards, including the NASA Silver Snoopy Award, NASA Turning Goals into Reality Award, NASA Silver Achievement Medal award, and an Environmental and Energy Program Award.
In an interview with the American Chemical Society, Dr. Williams revealed that despite her outstanding accomplishments, she is most proud of her two daughters and finishing her degree.
When asked what she liked most about working as a scientist, she said, “I am never bored, and my brain is always challenged.”
She also said being a scientist, she was always learning and solving different problems.