Heinrich Jaeger is the William J. Friedman and Alicia Townsend Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago. Jaeger’s research group is working on topics that span the range from the nanoscale to the macroscopic. A main theme is the investigation of materials under conditions far from equilibrium. Such conditions give rise to a wealth of complex phenomena and the insights gained can be used to control properties in unique ways as well as design whole new classes of smart materials. One focus is on macroscopic granular matter, which exists almost exclusively under far-from-equilibrium conditions and whose jamming/unjamming transition has become a model for understanding glassy behavior, while also providing a path to new types of high-efficiency particulate materials and enabling novel soft robotic systems. The second focus area is the rheology of dense suspensions, and the third is drying-mediated self-assembly of nanoparticles, a process that can be exploited to produce freestanding nanoparticle monolayer sheets. Such sheets can form ultrathin membranes that act as size- and charge-selective nano-sieves with tunable pore size.
Jaeger received his undergraduate education in Kiel, Germany, and his PhD in physics in 1987, working under Allen Goldman at the University of Minnesota on ultrathin superconducting films. After a postdoc at the University of Chicago, he moved to the Netherlands in 1989 to take up a position as Senior Researcher at the Delft Institute for Microelectronics and Submicrontechnology. He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1991, directing the Chicago Materials Research Center from 2001–2006, and the James Franck Institute from 2007–2010.
Jaeger is the recipient of a David and Lucille Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholarship. He received the University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award and a Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Artist Dan Peterman and physicist Heinrich Jaeger discuss how their collaboration generated the sculptural installation Slipping and Jamming: Variable Installation of Z-Forms, on view in the William Eckhardt Research Center through November 30, 2017.