Peter Pfeifer

Vittorio Violante RdAPeter Pfeifer received his Ph.D, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, in 1980 and held positions at the Fritz Haber Research Institute for Molecular Dynamics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Research Fellow, 1981-82), and University of Bielefeld, Germany (Assistant Professor of Chemistry, 1982-86), before joining the University of Missouri’s Physics Department in 1986.  He was appointed Professor in 1995 and Department Chair in 2008, and held visiting positions at the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris (1994), Los Alamos National Laboratory (2000/01), Delft University of Technology (2004/05), and the Center of Advanced Studies, Norwegian Academy of Sciences, Oslo (2008), during this time.

Dr. Pfeifer’s early research record includes quantum dynamics (broken symmetries in molecular systems, scattering theory, time-dependent phenomena in strongly interacting matter-photon systems, quantum computing).  He pioneered, since 1982, the field of fractal surface analysis and fractal structure-function relationships at the nanoscale (adsorption and wetting phenomena on fractal surfaces, phase transitions, small-angle x-ray and neutron scattering, diffusion currents in porous media, oxygen transport in the lung).  Since 2004 his main focus is on the development of advanced carbon materials for low-pressure vehicular storage of natural gas and hydrogen for next-generation clean vehicles (supercritical adsorption of methane and molecular hydrogen).  This program, led by Dr. Pfeifer, runs under the name “Alliance for Collaborative Research in Alternative Fuel Technology” (; has home bases in MU’s Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the Missouri University Research Reactor; has involved over 20 senior researchers, 30 Ph.D. students, and 50 undergraduates since its inception; and is/has been funded by the National Science Foundation, California Energy Commission, Southern California Gas Company, U.S. Department of Energy (BES, EERE), and U.S. Department of Defense (Defense Logistics Agency).