Alumni Programs

Grant Bunker

Headshot of Grant BunkerEducation

B.A., Evergreen 1976,
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1984


Introduction to XAFS


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Biographical Note

Grant Bunker primarily studied physics and biology at Evergreen, after which he obtained a Ph.D. in physics/biophysics at the University of Washington with Edward A. Stern. After several years at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Director of the Biostructures Institute in Philadelphia, working with Britton Chance in developing and operating synchrotron x-ray beamlines at Brookhaven National Lab, he was recruited to the Physics Department of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago as Associate Professor. He founded and directed the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT) at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. He is now Associate Dean for Research in the College of Science and Letters at IIT, and has recently published the book, Introduction to XAFS: a Practical Guide to X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy. He is married with three children, and lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

Grant Bunker's book cover

Publication Types

Non-Fiction, Scholastic

Latest Publication Title

Introduction to XAFS: a Practical Guide to X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy, Cambridge University Press, 2010

Publication Excerpt

Intro paragraph - what is XAFS?:

X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) Spectroscopy is a unique tool for studying, at the atomic and molecular scale, the local structure around selected elements that are contained within a material.  XAFS can be applied not only to crystals, but also to materials that possess little or no long-range translational order: amorphous systems, glasses, quasicrystals, disordered films, membranes, solutions, liquids, metalloproteins - even molecular gases. This versatility allows it to be used in a wide variety of disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, biophysics, medicine, engineering, environmental science, materials science, and geology.

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

The individual/group contract format provided the flexibility to learn for the sake of learning, which is what attracted me to Evergreen, and to delve into advanced topics earlier than most conventional curricula would allow. That flexibility also permitted me the invaluable learning experience of serving as a student firefighter and EMT (program unfortunately discontinued).  Now, as a faculty member at IIT, the excellent and dedicated faculty I worked with decades ago continue to inspire: Rob Knapp, Sig Kutter, Byron Youtz, Fred Tabbutt, Burt Guttman. Although most of them are no longer at Evergreen, I believe the same spirit pervades the present faculty.