Scientific Research

Scientific Research

The Scientific Research Department at The Corning Museum of Glass is the Museum’s primary resource for scientific and technical knowledge of glass, its composition and structure, and its uses throughout history, in the modern world, and into the future. The department works to infuse cutting-edge glass science content into programs, initiatives, exhibits, curricula and partnerships. It also conducts new, original research on glass science and technology, to advance the art and craft of glassmaking, and to disseminate that learning to makers worldwide. The Museum continues its support of the examination of historical glass artifacts and the study of the history of glassmaking by collaboration with archaeologists and scientists from all over the world.

The findings of former Museum scientist Dr. Robert H. Brill since 1960 have been shared in more than 190 publications on the archaeology, chemistry, and conservation of glass. Many of these publications are now out-of-print or originally appeared in sources that are no longer readily accessible. The Museum’s searchable database brings this scholarship to the attention of scholars and scientists who might not otherwise be aware of it. Approximately one quarter of the content is accessible in full-text format. Publications not available in full-text may be accessed through the Museum's Rakow Research Library.

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Do you have a glass science question? Email chief scientist Glen Cook at

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Last week we started to look at the question of why optical fiber bends so much. We learned that glass is rigid at an atomic level and metal has more flexibility. In order to really understand why things do not break, we need to know why and when they do break. Materials break, or give, at the... more
In the Innovations gallery we get many questions about all sorts of topics involving glass. One of the most frequently asked questions, in reference to optical fiber, is “How can glass be so flexible?” To answer this we will be doing a two part blog; the first to figure out why things bend at all,... more
Let’s consider glass and transparency. Why is glass transparent and why is it sometimes not? What does it mean to be translucent or opaque? The ability to transmit, absorb, or reflect light is a characteristic that makes glass very appealing in art applications so artists choose to make use of it... more