Patterson is professor of chemical physics and polymer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in 1968 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Stanford University in 1972. He was a member of the technical staff in the chemical physics department at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1972 until 1984. Patterson is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He received the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research in 1981. His research interests are in the structure and dynamics of molecular systems. He has published more than one hundred papers in professional journals and has written chapters for many books, including Methods of Experimental Physics, Dynamic Light Scattering, Advances in Polymer Science, Advances in Materials Science and Annual Review of Physical Chemistry. Patterson has taught a wide range of science courses to chemistry, chemical engineering, biology and physics majors at Carnegie Mellon University. He also cotaught a course in Christianity and science in the philosophy department, with support from the Templeton Foundation, and he continues to lecture in philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.