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Physics

Faculty & Staff

Will Williams
Professor

email Send Email office Office: McConnell Hall 310A phone Phone: 585-3965

Will Williams’ research is in experimental cold atom physics.

Currently he has three main research goals: high precision spectroscopy of atomic beryllium, optical production of metastable krypton, and magneto-optical trapping of atomic oxygen.

Will received dual Bachelor of Science degrees, physics and mathematics, from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. After undergrad, Will went on fellowship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he got his PhD in experimental cold atomphysics. His dissertation was both theoretical, creating complex optical potentials for use in atomic lithography, and experimental, cold atom modulation instability, a nonlinear effect where atom/light interactions "grow" frequency compenents. After getting his PhD, Will became a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, which is located outside Chicago and managed by the Department of Energy. There, he had two main projects: Trace analysis using cold atom techniques (also known as Atom Trap Trace Analysis) and a weak interaction study using radioactive helium-6 that tests the validity of a nuclear theory known as The Standard Model. Next, he took a second postdoc position at Old Dominion University where his research shifted to a photoassociation spectroscopy (making molecules from cold atoms), Rydberg Physics, and underwater LIDAR.

During his two postdocs, Will designed, built, and ran experiments at many different facilities around the country including the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA), the free electron laser at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory, and NASA.

Will is very excited about working at Smith College. His lab, which is in the basement of McConnell Hall, is just getting started. You can visit his website to see pictures and learn more about his research.

There is room in Will’s research program for anyone who wants to experience a cold atom physics lab. We will work with lasers, vacuum systems, electronics, computer modeling, ovens, and much more. If you are interested in joining the lab, please stop by Will’s office, McConnell 310A.