Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences and NSLS-II Project Director
Steven Dierker, a forefront scientist and administrator in synchrotron light research, is the Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dierker is also Project Director of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) project.
NSLS-II will be a new world-leading synchrotron light source that will enable the study of material properties and functions, particularly materials at the nanoscale, at a level of detail and precision never before possible. It will be part of a new era of science that is key to America’s competiveness, where material properties can be sufficiently well understood to be predictable and ultimately tailored to specific applications.
The $912-million NSLS-II project represents the next major step in Brookhaven’s long history of building and operating world-class scientific user facilities and is expected to have enormous impact in the life sciences, materials and chemical sciences, nanoscience, geoscience, environmental science, and other areas.
After earning B.S. degrees in both physics and electrical engineering in 1977 from Washington University in St. Louis, Dierker earned both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1978 and 1983, respectively. From 1983-1990, he was a researcher in the Semiconductor and Chemical Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories. From 1990-2005, he was Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the University of Michigan (UofM). While at UofM, Dierker helped to plan the design, construction, and operation of two beamlines at Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
In 2001, Dierker joined Brookhaven Lab to become Chair of the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS). He became Associate Laboratory Director for Light Sources when that directorate was created in 2003. He continued to serve as NSLS chairman until he stepped down from that position to become Director of the NSLS-II Project, in December 2005.
Dierker has carried out research in a number of areas, including:
• Making the first observations of Raman scattering from superconducting gap excitations, which has now become a widespread and powerful technique for investigating the physics of superconductors
• Using light scattering and neutron scattering to study problems in soft condensed matter, most notably the hexatic phase of freely suspended liquid crystal films and activated dynamics of binary fluids in porous media
• Developing a novel synchrotron technique called x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy and using it to study colloidal systems and polymers