Bachelor of Science, U. Ljubljana, 1978; Master of Science, U. Ljubljana, 1982; Doctor of Philosophy, U. Ljubljana, 1986.
His fields of research are: physics of soft matter, physics of coulomb fluids and macromolecular interactions, the Lifshitz theory of van der Waals dispersion interaction and the Casimir effect, physics of membranes, polymers and polyelectrolytes and especially the physics of deoxyribonucleic acid and viruses. Podgornik and coworkers discovered the line hexatic phase in the phase diagram of the concentrated long fragment deoxyribonucleic acid solutions. The line hexatic mesophase appears to be the preferred packing form of long deoxyribonucleic acid in bacteriophages.
He is the author of more than two hundred scientific papers and a coeditor of books: "Electrostatic Effects in Soft Matter" (Proceedings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Advanced Study Institute, Les Houches, France, 1–13 October 2000, Series: North Atlantic Treaty Organization Science Series II: Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, Volume(s) 46 ), together with Christian Holm and Patrick Kekicheff and "Electrostatics of Soft and Disordered Matter" (Pan Stanford Publishing, March 31, 2014) with David South. Dean, Jure Dobnikar and Ali Naji.
Together with Doctorate. Harries, J. DeRouchey, H. H. Strey, and V. A. Parsegian, he coauthored the chapter "Interactions in Macromolecular Complexes Used as Nonviral Vectors for Gene Delivery", in the leading textbook of gene therapy: "Gene Therapy: Therapeutic Mechanisms and Strategies", North. Smyth – Templeton, Marcel Dekker, New York (2008), Third Edition. Rudolf Podgornik is the head of the research program Biophysics of polymers, membranes, gels, colloids and cells, financially supported by the Slovene Agency for Research and Development (ARRS).
He is a professor of physics at the Physics Department, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana and a professor of biophysics at the Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. Since 2011 he is also adjunct professor at the Physics Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and since 2013 an adjunct professor at the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.
He is a coeditor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Physics, edited by Springer.
Member American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Biophysics Society, American Physical Society, Planetary Society, International Society Theoretical Chemical Physics, Slovenian Society Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers.
Married Cvetka Bevc, 1983 (divorced 1991). 1 child, Anja.