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Sol Gruner

John L. Wetherill Emeritus Professor of Physics

Biological physics; polymer and other soft condensed matter physics; x-ray and synchrotron radiation science; scientific instrumentation and technique development; development of novel x-ray detectors


My research is aimed at understanding the structure and properties of proteins, lyotropic liquid crystals, block co-polymers and mesoporous composites.  Examples include the effects of pressure on protein assemblies, the synthesis and properties of polymer-based nanocomposites, the interaction between membrane proteins and lipid bilayers, and techniques to determine protein structure from microcrystals. The work is diverse and is characterized by collaborations with biologically- and chemically-oriented scientists, the development of new instrumentation and techniques, especially as involves x-rays and synchrotron radiation. I also believe that physicists are tool makers and, in consequence,  everyone in the group is involved in instrumentation and technique development as applied to the materials listed, above. 

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Educational Background

  • Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1997-present
  • Director, Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), Cornell University, 1997-2013
  • Visiting appointments at Exxon Research, Research Engineering; Institute for Theoretical Physics, U.C. Santa Barbara; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dept. of Pathology
  • Professor, Physics, Princeton University, 1991-1997
  • Associate Professor, Physics, Princeton University, 1985-1991
  • Assistant Professor, Physics, Princeton University, 1978-1985
  • Research Associate, Princeton University, 1977
  • Ph.D. in Physics, Princeton University, 1977
  • S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972