C. Jeffrey Brinker was born in Easton, Pa., and attended Rutgers University where he received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ceramic science and engineering. Brinker joined Sandia National Laboratories as a member of the technical staff (1979). He was promoted to distinguished member of the technical staff at SNL and appointed distinguished national laboratory professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of New Mexico (1991). Since 1999, he has been jointly employed at SNL where he is Sandia Fellow (one of two) and at UNM where he is regent’s professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and codirector of the Center for Micro-Engineered Materials. Brinker has been recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering work in sol-gel processing – the formation of ceramic materials from molecular precursors. This early work launched the successful series of MRS symposia entitled “Better Ceramics Through Chemistry” and culminated in the publication of Sol-Gel Science (1990) with coauthor George Scherer, a book that remains the most highly cited reference in this rapidly growing field. During the 1990’s, Brinker made a number of significant contributions to the fields of porous and composite materials. Through the creative use of silane coupling chemistry, he devised a simple, inexpensive means to prepare aerogels, the world’s lightest solids, at room temperature and pressure.