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Sol Gruner

John L. Wetherill Professor of Physics

Clark Hall, Room 162

Educational Background

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



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


  • Physics

Graduate Fields

  • Applied Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Physics


  • Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR)
  • Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS)
  • Kavli Institute at Cornell for NanoScale Science
  • Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP)


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. 

Research Associates and technical staff associated with the group
Darol Chamberlain (CHESS), Marty Novak, Hugh Philipp, Prafull Purohit, Kate Shanks, Mark Tate

Graduate Students
Veronica Pillar, Joel Weiss, Jeney Wierman. Co-advised with others: Peter Beaucage




Publications may be found at


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