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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. 

Educational Background

  • Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1997-present
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 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, 1991-97
  • Associate Professor, Physics, Princeton University, 1985-91
  • Assistant Professor, Physics, Princeton University, 1978-85
  • Research Associate, Princeton University, 1977
  • Ph.D. in Physics, Princeton University, 1977
  • S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972