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Brian H. Toby

Senior Physicist

Powder diffraction crystallography and computational x-ray science


Brian Toby is a synchrotron and neutron powder diffraction crystallographer, with ~160 refereed papers and ~16,000 citations. He oversaw construction of the 11-BM diffractometer and designed and implemented its world-leading automation system. He served as Chair of the US National Committee for Crystallography and as President of the American Crystallographic Association. He developed the pdCIF data standard for the International Union of Crystallography. He serves on the planning committee for the Denver X-ray Conference and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Centre for Diffraction Data. He is a co-editor of the journal Powder Diffraction and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data. Brian H. Toby’s professional experience has been in targeted research in a number of employment environments, including chemical industry, academia and in the government sector both in a synchrotron and a research reactor facility.

His research interests are in understanding how the arrangements of atoms in solids determine how the material functions, chemically or physically, and for the development and teaching of techniques for those studies. To do this, he works on software and instrument development as well as conducts measurements and analyzes the results. Brian has developed several novel software concepts: the first fitting program for PDFs for study of local order in crystalline materials and the first multi-field boolean search (a.k.a. PDF-4) application for powder diffraction databases. His best known programs include GSAS-II, CMPR, CIFTOOLS (pdCIFplot) and EXPGUI.


See ResearchID or ORCHID web sites


  • Physical Chemistry, Ph.D., Caltech 1986
  • Chemistry, B.A. with Honors and Highest Distinction, Rutgers College, 1980

Honors and Professional Service

  • Served as Vice-President (2019), President (2020) and Past-President (2021) of the American Crystallographic Association
  • Co-recipient (with Robert Von Dreele) of the 6th American Crystallographic Association Ken Trueblood Award for exceptional achievement in computational or chemical crystallography.” (2019)
  • Co-director Argonne-Oak Ridge National Laboratories’ Neutron/X-ray Summer School (2015-2019)
  • 16th recipient of the Charles S. Barrett Award from the Denver X-ray Conference for outstanding contributions to the field of powder diffraction” (2015)
  • Elected Chair (2012-2014) and Vice Chair (2009-2011), U.S. National Committee on Crystallography of the National Academy of Science
  • Bronze Medal for Superior Federal Service, U.S. Department of Commerce (2005)
  • Fellow, American Crystallographic Association (2017) and International Centre for Diffraction Data (2004)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (1980) and American Institute of Chemists Undergraduate Award (1980)