John Frank

Fellowship Awarded 1998
John Frank
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In 1998, John Frank received his Hertz Fellowship and decided to pursue a PhD at MIT studying “ordering on curved interfaces” with Professor Mehran Kardar. His research focuses on understanding how curvature influences reactions and patterns on membranes. Widely observed shapes in membranes and thin films are often the result of geometry and diffusion rather than particular chemical constituents or a unique tuning of parameters. As an undergrad, John holds a BS in physics with distinction from Yale University where he led Yale’s first solar car team to the top rookie seat of Sunyrace 97.

In 1999, John founded MetaCarta, which pioneered map-based search with statistical natural language processing that helps people find everything written about any place. Nokia acquired MetaCarta in 2010. Most recently, John helped to co-found a new start-up, Diffeo, and he continues to innovate in information retrieval at Diffeo. In 2013, his work and leadership at Diffeo led to the The Newman Entrepreneurial Initiative award, that he shared with its co-founders and Hertz Fellows Max Kleiman-Weiner and Dan Roberts.

"The Hertz Fellowship changed my life. It allowed me to follow my instincts and explore whole fields and also nooks and crannies with a freedom that might have taken most of a career to construct from less efficient funding strategies."
– John Frank

Graduate Studies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


2014, Peter Strauss Award, Fannie & John Hertz Foundation; 2013, The Newman Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund, Fannie & John Hertz Foundation