Professor of chemistry; director, Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory
areas of expertise: biological chemistry, nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr) in solids, high-field dynamic nuclear polarization and electron paramagnetic resonance (epr), applications of nmr to biological problems, membrane and crystalline proteins, physical chemistry, solid-state nmr and high-frequency epr in biological systems, solid-state spectrometers, epr spectrometers
Robert G. Griffin was born and raised in Little Rock, Ark., graduating in 1960 from Hall High School in Little Rock. He attended Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., during his freshman year of college but then transferred to the University of Arkansas, where he majored in chemistry and received a BS (with honors) in 1964. During high school and college, he had two consuming interests: chemistry and rock music. Specifically, while he performed research in the chemistry department, he was a drummer with a band known as the Rebels, which played weekly around Arkansas. During his latter years of college, it became apparent that his dreams of becoming a rock star would likely not come to fruition.
In 1963, he therefore retired from music and concentrated on science. Professor Griffin attended graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, where he worked with Professor Samuel I. Weissman on EPR experiments directed at understanding the spectra and electron transfer processes of radical ions in solution. After completing his PhD, he moved to MIT to perform postdoctoral work with Professor John S. Waugh. At that time, the field of high-resolution NMR in solids was in its infancy, and he was involved in multiple-pulse NMR experiments that yielded the initial observation of chemical-shift anisotropies in single crystals and powders.
His primary research interests remain in the field of magnetic resonance in solids. In 1972, Professor Griffin accepted a position as a staff scientist at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory (FBML), and he rose through the ranks to become director in 1992. In 1988, he joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Chemistry, where he teaches physical chemistry.
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