Peter Eisenberger attended Princeton University from 1959-1963, where he received a B.A. in Physics with honors. He received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for his first year at Harvard University and a Harvard Fellowship for his second year. He graduated in 1967 from Harvard University with Ph.D. in Applied Physics and remained at Harvard for one year as a Post Doctoral Fellow, where he did research in both biophysics and on the polaron problem. In 1968 he joined the staff at Bell Laboratories, where his research centered on using Compton Scattering to determine the momentum distribution of electrons in metals and semiconductors. From 1974-1981 he was a department head at Bell Laboratories, and his research interests switched to using X-ray produced by Synchrotron radiation to study structural properties of complex solids and surfaces. He was a consulting professor at Stanford University’s Applied Physics Department from 1981-1987. As an outgrowth of those interests, he became actively involved in the growth of those facilities, including Chairship of the Advanced Photon Steering Committee and participation in National Academy of Science (NAS) and Department of Energy (DOE) studies. In 1981 he joined Exxon Research and Engineering Company as Director of their Physical Sciences Laboratory. In 1989 he was appointed Professor of Physics and Director of the Princeton Materials Institute at Princeton University. He is currently a Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, where from 1996-1999 he held the posts of Vice Provost of the Earth Institute of Columbia University and Director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
Dr. Eisenberger is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Eisenberger was one of the authors of the National Action Plan for Materials Science and Engineering, and was a member of the Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation (NSF). He was chair of the Advisory Committee in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division of the NSF and serves as co-chair of the NSF Conference "Organizing for R&D in the 21st Century". His recent activities include Chairman of the Board of the Invention Factory Science Center, Member of the Board of Trustees for New Jersey’s Inventors Hall of Fame, Director of Associated Institutions for Materials Science, and organizer of NSF/DOE Conferences, "Basic Research Needs for Vehicles of the Future," "Basic Research Needs for Environmentally Responsive Technologies of the Future," "Organizing for Research and Development in the 21st Century," and "Basic Research Needs to Achieve Sustainability: The Carbon Problem". More recently, he has been appointed by Governor Whitman to the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and is a member of the GEO2000 Task Force of the NSF.