C. Jeffrey Brinker is widely recognized for his pioneering work in sol-gel chemistry – the formation of ceramic materials from molecular precursors. His initial efforts addressed the processing of highly refractory glasses like fused silica at remarkably low temperatures – less than half that of conventional melt-processing. He then turned his attention to the preparation of porous materials useful for a wide range of applications including antireflective coatings, sensors, membranes, adsorbents, and thermal and acoustic insulation. Through exploitation of the scaling relationships of mass and size of fractal objects, he devised a fractal engineering approach to tailor the porosity and pore size of these materials. This early work culminated in the publication of Sol-Gel Science in 1990 (with co-author George Scherer), a book that remains the most highly cited reference in this rapidly growing field.
From 1974 to 1985, Professor George W. Scherer was at Corning Glass Works, where his research included optical fiber fabrication, viscous sintering, and viscoelastic stress analysis. The latter work was the subject of his first book, Relaxation in Glass and Composites (Wiley, 1986). From 1985 through 1995, he was a member of the Central Research Department of the DuPont Company, where his work dealt principally with sol-gel processing, and especially with drying. In collaboration with Jeff Brinker of Sandia National Labs, he wrote a book entitled Sol-Gel Science (Academic Press, 1990). He is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and a member of the Materials Research Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, and RILEM. In 1997 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In February, 1996, he became a full professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, and a member of the Princeton Materials Institute (now, PRISM). His research involves mechanisms of deterioration of concrete and stone, particularly by crystallization of ice and salts in the pores.