Thad G. Walker 

Professor of Physics 

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Prof. Walker prepares and studies novel states of matter using lasers. In his laboratory, he and his students use lasers to cool atoms to microKelvin temperatures, and they study the interactions between atoms at these extremely low temperatures. They use lasers to produce spin-polarized atoms at temperatures ranging from microKelvins to hundreds of Kelvin, with applications to spin-polarized nuclei (used for magnetic resonance imaging, for example) and fetal biomagnetism.

Brief Bio:
Prof. Walker obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1988, then spent two years at JILA before establishing his laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990, where he is currently Professor of Physics.  He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, and was selected as an "Outstanding Referee" by the American Physical Society in 2009.  At the University of Wisconsin he has been named an H. I. Romnes Fellow and a Vilas Associate. He is a 1999 Fellow of the American Physical Society, "For pioneering research in spin exchange, optical pumping, ultracold collisions, spin polarized beams and targets, laser cooling, and electron scattering."  He has supervised the research training of more than thirty students and scientists at levels ranging from high-school to post-doctoral.

Prof. Walker's teaching interests range from freshmen to advanced graduate students, and he is well known for integrating his research interests into his classroom teaching.  He helped pioneer a new introductory course sequence, "A Modern Introduction to Physics", geared to prospective physics majors, which integrates modern physics into the course material from the very beginning.


His email address is

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