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The James Franck Institute

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


  • Aaron Dinner, Chemistry


  • Laurie J. Butler, Chemistry
  • Aaron Dinner, Chemistry
  • Todd Dupont, Computer Science
  • Philippe Guyot-Sionnest, Chemistry
  • Eric D. Isaacs, Physics
  • Heinrich M. Jaeger, Physics
  • Woowon Kang, Physics
  • Ka Yee Lee, Chemistry
  • Kathryn Levin, Physics
  • Donald H. Levy, Chemistry
  • Peter B. Littlewood, Physics
  • Gene F. Mazenko, Physics
  • David A. Mazziotti, Chemistry
  • Sidney R. Nagel, Physics
  • Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Physics
  • Norbert F. Scherer, Chemistry
  • Steven J. Sibener, Chemistry
  • Dam Thanh Son, Physics
  • Andrei Tokmakoff, Chemistry
  • Gregory A. Voth, Chemistry
  • Paul Wiegmann, Physics
  • Thomas A. Witten, Physics
  • Luping Yu, Chemistry

Associate Professors

  • Cheng Chin, Physics
  • Greg Engel, Chemistry
  • Ilya Gruzberg, Physics
  • Dion L. Heinz, Geophysical Sciences
  • David Mazziotti, Chemistry
  • Dmitri Talapin, Chemistry
  • Wendy W. Zhang, Physics

Assistant Professors

  • David Biron, Physics
  • Margaret Gardel, Physics
  • William T. M. Irvine, Physics
  • David Schuster, Physics
  • Jonathan Simon, Physics
  • Bozhi Tian, Chemistry

Emeritus Faculty

  • R. Stephen Berry, Chemistry
  • Karl F. Freed, Chemistry
  • Robert Gomer, Chemistry
  • Leo P. Kadanoff, Physics and Mathematics
  • John C. Light, Chemistry
  • Stuart A. Rice, Chemistry

About the Institute

The James Franck Institute is the premier institute in the U.S. for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of physics, chemistry and materials science. The Institute is home to scientists from condensed matter physics, physical and materials chemistry, atomic, molecular and optical physics, and biophysics. Several of its thirty-three faculty members are affiliated as well with departments such as computer science, geophysics, mathematics, and with other research institutes on campus or with nearby Argonne National Laboratory. Most of the faculty in the Institute are also associated with the Chicago Materials Research Center, one of the select Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) supported by the National Science Foundation.

The James Franck Institute was established after World War II as the Institute for the Study of Metals, with the present name being adopted in 1967 to reflect the emerging wider range of research activities covering the full spectrum of solids, liquids, and gases. Today, high-profile experimental and theoretical research in the Institute covers the areas of nanoscience, chemical kinetics and dynamics, phase transitions and far-from-equilibrium phenomena, dynamical systems, materials behavior under extreme deformations, low-temperature transport phenomena and superconductivity, ultracold atomic matter, molecular beams, laser spectroscopy, surface phenomena, polymer chemistry and physics, biophysics, and also theoretical research in broad areas of statistical mechanics and condensed matter theory.

The Institute provides a nurturing environment for scientists of different disciplines to interact and aid each other's research, and it extends to pre- and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to do research in a unique interdisciplinary setting. At any given time, approximately fifteen postdoctoral scholars and seventy-five graduate students work in the Institute, often co-mentored by advisors from different academic disciplines.

The intellectual environment in the Institute is further enriched by Senior Scientists, Senior Research Associates, Research Scientists and Visiting Scholars.  An active colloquium and seminar series, as well as a more informal weekly informal baglunch seminar, stimulate information exchange. Housed in the brand new Gordon Center for Integrative Science building, the Institute provides office and state-of-the-art laboratory space and operates a number of specialized research facilities. These include a low-temperature (cryogenics) laboratory, materials preparation and spectroscopic facilities, scanning probe and electron microscopes, and extensive shop and computer facilities.

In an age where much cutting-edge research lies at the boundaries between traditional disciplines, the James Franck Institute fosters creative interdisciplinary work at the forefront of science.