Heinrich Jaeger is the William J. Friedman and Alicia Townsend Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. working on superconducting films, but his research interests since then have evolved and broadened. A main theme is the investigation of materials under conditions far from equilibrium. Such conditions give rise to a wealth of complex phenomena, and insights gained can be used to design new classes of smart materials. At the scale of macroscopic components, Jaeger’s work focuses on granular materials, which exist almost exclusively under far-from-equilibrium conditions and whose jamming/unjamming transition provides a path to high-efficiency energy absorption, to new stress-adaptive materials, and to soft robotic systems that can change shape and compliance. On the nanoscale, with components a million times smaller, Jaeger’s research investigates the self-assembly of nanoparticles into ultrathin sheets. Such sheets can form membranes that act as nano-sieves with tunable pore size.