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Simon Mochrie, Ph.D.

Simon Mochrie, Ph.D.

Yale University


Simon Mochrie is a Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics at Yale University, where he studies the physics of living materials. The recent focus of his research has been to bring simple theoretical and computational approaches to elucidate chromatin organization and dynamics, and to compare the resultant predictions to experimental data. In other projects, he used small-angle x-ray scattering on single insect scales to identify ordered photonic nanostructures, which insects grow by exploiting the self-organizing propensity of cellular lipid-bilayer membranes, and he showed that the folding/unfolding thermodynamics of repeat proteins can be quantitatively described by the classical one-dimensional Ising model. Throughout his career, an important feature of Simon’s research has been the introduction of novel methods, analyses, and approaches. Before engaging with biological physics, he invented, developed and exploited x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) to characterize the slow dynamics of polymeric and colloidal systems on shorter length scales than possible optically. This work led to the Advanced Photon Source’s Arthur H. Compton Award in 2009 and has motivated the implementation of beamlines for XPCS at synchrotron facilities around the world. He earned a BA from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied phase transitions in a number of systems that realize low-dimensional behavior. He then became a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, before returning to MIT as faculty. He moved to Yale in 2000.

Science Programs at Allen Institute