SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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  • Tom Abel

    Tom Abel

    Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and of Physics

    BioWhat were the first objects that formed in the Universe? Prof. Abel's group explores the first billion years of cosmic history using ab initio supercomputer calculations. He has shown from first principles that the very first luminous objects are very massive stars and has developed novel numerical algorithms using adaptive-mesh-refinement simulations that capture over 14 orders of magnitude in length and time scales. He currently continues his work on the first stars and first galaxies and their role in chemical enrichment and cosmological reionization. His group studies any of the first objects to form in the universe: first stars, first supernovae, first HII regions, first magnetic fields, first heavy elements, and so on. Most recently he is pioneering novel numerical algorithms to study collisionless fluids such as dark matter which makes up most of the mass in the Universe as well as astrophysical and terrestrial plasmas. He was the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and Division Director at SLAC 2013-2018.

  • Alex Aiken

    Alex Aiken

    Alcatel-Lucent Professor in Communications and Networking and Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and of Photon Science

    BioAiken's research focuses on developing techniques for the construction of reliable software systems. His interests include both static and dynamic methods of analyzing programs, and span both detecting errors and verifying the absence of errors in software. Most of his research combines a theoretical component (for example, proving the soundness of an analysis technique) and a practical component, which often involves the implementation and measurement of advanced program analysis algorithms. Finally, his research also extends to the design of new programming languages and programming techniques in which it is easier to write software that can be checked for a wide variety of errors.

  • Daniel Akerib

    Daniel Akerib

    Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and, by courtesy, of Physics

    BioResearch interests:
    Dan Akerib joined the department in 2014 with a courtesy appointment, in conjunction with a full-time appointment to the Particle Physics & Astrophysics faculty at SLAC. He has searched for WIMP dark matter particles since the early 1990s, first with the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search and more recently with the LUX and LUX-ZEPLIN projects. His current interests are in extending the sensitivity to dark matter through expanding and improving time projection chambers that use liquid xenon as a target medium. Together with Tom Shutt, he has led the establishment of a Liquid Nobles Test Platform at SLAC. The group specializes in detector development, xenon purification, and simulations, and has a broad range of opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in hardware and software development, as well as data analysis.

    Career History:
    - AB 1984, University of Chicago
    - Ph.D. 1990 Princeton University
    - Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology, 1990 - 1992
    - Center Fellow, Center for Particle Astrophysics, UC Berkeley 1993 - 1996
    - Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 1995-2001
    - Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 2001-2004
    - Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 2004-2014
    - Chair, Case Western Reserve University, 2007-2010
    - Professor, Particle Physics & Astrophysics, SLAC 2014 - present

  • Steven Allen

    Steven Allen

    Professor of Physics and of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsObservational astrophysics and cosmology; galaxies, galaxy clusters, dark matter and dark energy; applications of statistical methods; X-ray astronomy; X-ray detector development; optical astronomy; mm-wave astronomy; radio astronomy; gravitational lensing.

  • Axel Brunger

    Axel Brunger

    Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, of Neurology, of Photon Science and, by courtesy, of Structural Biology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOne of Axel Brunger's major goals is to decipher the molecular mechanisms of synaptic neurotransmitter release by conducting imaging and single-molecule/particle reconstitution experiments, combined with near-atomic resolution structural studies of the synaptic vesicle fusion machinery.

  • Philip Bucksbaum

    Philip Bucksbaum

    Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science and Professor of Photon Science, of Applied Physics, of Physics and Director, Stanford PULSE Institute

    BioPhil Bucksbaum holds the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Chair in Natural Science at Stanford University, with appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and in Photon Science at SLAC. He conducts his research in the Stanford PULSE Institute ( He and his wife Roberta Morris live in Menlo Park, California with their cat. Their grown daughter lives in Toronto.

    Bucksbaum was born and raised in Iowa, and graduated from Harvard in 1975. He attended U.C. Berkeley on a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and received his Ph.D. in 1980 for atomic parity violation experiments under Professor Eugene Commins, with whom he also has co-authored a textbook, “Weak Interactions of Leptons and Quarks.” In 1981 he joined Bell Laboratories, where he pursued new applications of ultrafast coherent radiation from terahertz to vacuum ultraviolet, including time-resolved VUV ARPES, and strong-field laser-atom physics.

    He joined the University of Michigan in 1990 and stayed for sixteen years, becoming Otto Laporte Collegiate Professor and then Peter Franken University Professor. He was founding Director of FOCUS, a National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center, where he pioneered research using ultrafast lasers to control quantum systems. He also launched the first experiments in ultrafast x-ray science at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab. In 2006 Bucksbaum moved to Stanford and SLAC, and organized the PULSE Institute to develop research utilizing the world’s first hard x-ray free-electron laser, LCLS. In addition to directing PULSE, he has previously served as Department Chair of Photon Science and Division Director for Chemical Science at SLAC. His current research is in laser interrogation of atoms and molecules to explore and image structure and dynamics on the femtosecond scale. He currently has more than 250 publications.

    Bucksbaum is a Fellow of the APS and the Optical Society, and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has held Guggenheim and Miller Fellowships, and was Optical Society President in 2014. He will serve as the President of the American Physical Society in 2020. He has led or participated in many professional service activities, including NAS studies, national and international boards, initiatives, lectureships and editorships.