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Philip H. Bucksbaum

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Philip H. Bucksbaum
At Stanford 2009
Born (1953-01-14) January 14, 1953 (age 68)
Grinnell, Iowa
Alma materHarvard University, A.B. 1975 University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D. 1980
Scientific career
FieldsAtomic Physics, Ultrafast Science
InstitutionsStanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
ThesisMeasurement of the Parity Non-conserving Neutral Weak Interaction in Atomic Thallium (1980)
Doctoral advisorEugene Commins

Philip H. Bucksbaum (born January 14, 1953 in Grinnell, Iowa) is an American atomic physicist, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science in the Departments of Physics, Applied Physics, and Photon Science at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.[1] He also directs the Stanford PULSE Institute.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society, and was elected President of the Optical Society for 2014. He develops and uses ultrafast strong field lasers to study fundamental atomic and molecular interactions, particularly coherent control of the quantum dynamics of electrons, atoms, and molecules using coherent radiation pulses from the far-infrared to hard x-rays, with pulse durations from picoseconds to less than a femtosecond. Bucksbaum is the recipient of the 2020 Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision Tests of Fundamental Laws and Symmetries for his pioneering explorations of ultrafast strong field physics from the optical to the X-ray regime.


Early life and education

Bucksbaum spent his early childhood in Grinnell, a small farming and college community in south-central Iowa.[2] He graduated as the class valedictorian from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids in 1971.[3] He received a bachelor's degree in Physics from Harvard College in 1975.[4] Bucksbaum attended graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving his Ph.D. in 1980.[5]

Professional career

Following a one-year postdoctoral appointment at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Bucksbaum joined Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he remained until Columbia University appointed him Adjunct Associate Professor in Applied Physics in 1989.[6] In 1990 he moved to Ann Arbor, MI to accept a Professorship in Physics at the University of Michigan. He became Otto Laporte Collegiate Professor in Physics in 1997, and Peter Franken University Professor in 2005.[5]

Bucksbaum joined the faculty of Stanford in 2005, with joint appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and Photon Science.[7] He was named to the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Chair in Natural Science at Stanford in 2009,[8] and currently directs the PULSE Institute at Stanford and SLAC.[9][10]

Research summary

Bucksbaum's graduate research at Berkeley was on the parity non-conserving neutral weak interaction in atomic thallium.[11][12] He co-authored a textbook on the larger subject of electroweak interactions after completing his doctoral thesis.[13]

At Bell Laboratories he became interested in ultrafast and strong field laser-matter interactions. For a time he co-held the record for the shortest wavelength coherent radiation produced in the laboratory.[14] He was one of the team that used similar methods to develop the first ultrafast angle-resolved vuv photoemission methods.[15] In 1985 he turned to the study of strong-field ionization of atoms. His early work on above threshold ionization of atoms established the role of ponderomotive forces in laser-electron interactions through studies of electron surfing in ultrafast laser pulses as well as the high-intensity Kapitsa–Dirac effect.[16] He also discovered and explained the mechanism of bond softening in strong-field molecular dissociation.[17] His pioneering development of broadband coherent THz radiation (so-called "half-cycle pulses")[18] helped to advance the field of ultrafast THz spectroscopy. He has subsequently used ultrafast lasers to study problems in quantum sculpting,[19] quantum information,[20] and coherent control of atomic and molecular dynamics.

Bucksbaum helped to establish the new field of ultrafast x-ray science in early work at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory[21][22] and most recently strong-field coherent x-ray-atom physics at x-ray free-electron lasers.

Professional service

Bucksbaum served terms on the American Physical Society Executive Board, the Optical Society Board of Directors, and the National Academy of Sciences Board on Physics and Astronomy, as well as its Committee on AMO Science (CAMOS). He chaired its Decal Study in AMO Science, AMO 2010.[23] He has been a member of advisory committees for the Department of Energy Division on Basic Energy Science (BESAC), NIST (Committee for Physics), The National Science Foundation, and Science Advisory Committees for the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley National Lab, the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab, and the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC National Accelerator Lab. As of 2013 he was Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academy.

Bucksbaum was President of the Optical Society in 2014.[24][25]

He has served on the Editorial Board of Physical Review Letters, and was the founding editor of the American Institute of Physics Virtual Journal of Ultrafast Science.[26] At Stanford and SLAC, he has served as Chair of the Photon Science faculty[27] and also Director of the Chemical Science Division. .

Selected Published works


  • Schouten, Katherine. At Home in the Heartland: A Bucksbaum Family Album. Chicago: History Works, 2007. Print.
  • The Class of '75: Reflections on the Last Quarter of the 20th Century by Harvard Graduates. New York: New, 2003. Print.
  • Philip Bucksbaum. The American Institute of Physics. AIP History Center Array of Contemporary Physicists, n.d. Web. 19 May 2013.


  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who in America, 62nd Edition. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Publishing. 2008.
  2. ^ Schouten, Katherine (2007). At Home in the Heartland: A Bucksbaum Family Album. Chicago: History Works.
  3. ^ "Washington High to Graduate 481". Cedar Rapids Gazette. June 10, 1971. p. 10.
  4. ^ Yearbook of Harvard and Radcliffe 1975 Number 339. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Yearbook Publications. 1975.
  5. ^ a b "Array of Contemporary American Physicists". American Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  6. ^ JoAnn Winston, ed. (1989). Department of Applied Physics, Columbia University (PDF). New York, NY: Columbia University. p. 14.
  7. ^ "Report of the President to the Board of Trustees". Stanford News. 12 October 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Report of the President to the Board of Trustees". Stanford News. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Bucksbaum appointed to direct Ultrafast Science Center". Stanford News. 18 October 2005.
  10. ^ Gewin, Virginia (18 January 2006). "Movers: Philip Bucksbaum, director, Stanford Ultrafast Science Center, Stanford, California". Nature. 439 (7074): 366. doi:10.1038/nj7074-366a. S2CID 109946661.
  11. ^ Commins, Eugene D. (1981). "Status of Experimental Searches for Parity Violation in Atoms". In Daniel Kleppner (ed.). Status of Atomic Physics Parity Violation Experiments. New York: Springer. p. 121. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-9206-8_5. ISBN 978-1-4615-9208-2.
  12. ^ Bucksbaum, P. H. Measurement of the Parity Non-conserving Neutral Weak Interaction in Atomic Thallium (Ph.D. Thesis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
  13. ^ Commins, Eugene D., and Philip H. Bucksbaum. Weak Interactions of Leptons and Quarks. Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1983. ISBN 0521273706
  14. ^ Fischer, R; M. Schubert (March 16, 2006). "Trends in Nonlinear Optics". Annalen der Physik. 498 (6–8): 455–471. doi:10.1002/andp.19864980608.
  15. ^ Himpsel, Franz J.; Neville Smith (1985). "Photoelectron Spectroscopy". Physics Today. 38 (12): 60. Bibcode:1985PhT....38l..60H. doi:10.1063/1.880997.
  16. ^ Freimund, DL; Aflatooni, K; Batelaan, H (2001-09-13). "Nature Research Highlights: Making Light of the Matter". Nature. 413 (6852): 142–3. Bibcode:2001Natur.413..142F. doi:10.1038/35093065. PMID 11557974. S2CID 4351324.
  17. ^ Sheehy, Brian; Louis DiMauro (October 1996). "Atomic and Molecular Dynamics in Intense Optical Fields". Annual Review of Physical Chemistry. 47: 463–494. Bibcode:1996ARPC...47..463S. doi:10.1146/annurev.physchem.47.1.463.
  18. ^ Reimann, Klaus (10 October 2007). "Table-top sources of ultrashort THz pulses". Reports on Progress in Physics. 70 (10): 1587. Bibcode:2007RPPh...70.1597R. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/70/10/r02.
  19. ^ Collins, Graham P. (May 1999). "News and Analysis: Quantum Sculpting" (PDF). Scientific American. 280 (5). doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0599-35.
  20. ^ "Newsbreak: Light stores and retrieves quantum information". Laser Focus World. 3/1/2000. Retrieved 2013-06-15. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ Jacoby, Mitch (2001-10-29). "FAST SWITCH X-RAY". Chemical and Engineering News.
  22. ^ Melville, Kate (2001-10-25). "Ultrafast X-ray Could Reveal Atoms In Motion". Science A-Go-Go. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  23. ^ "Important National Research Council Physics Report Released". FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy. 2006-08-25. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  24. ^ "SLAC's Phil Bucksbaum elected VP of Optical Society". The Dish. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  25. ^ Mather, Lee (2011-10-19). "OSA elects Philip H. Bucksbaum as 2012 vice president". Laser Focus World. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  26. ^ "New Virtual Journal of Ultrafast Science now online". AIP Press Release. 6/7/2002. Archived from the original on 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-06-14. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  27. ^ "Report of the President to the Board of Trustees". Stanford News. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  28. ^
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