DeMarco selected University Scholar

Professor and Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs Brian DeMarco has been named a University Scholar by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The award recognizes faculty who have made significant contributions to research and teaching in line with the university’s reputation for leading-edge innovation and excellence. DeMarco is among five faculty members on the Urbana campus to be named to this honor in this selection round.

“The University Scholars program honors the best of the best and showcases the leading-edge scholarship and teaching that help transform students’ lives and drive progress for our state and nation,” notes Barbara Wilson, the executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the U of I System. 

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

DeMarco is an experimental physicist who works at the intersection of atomic, molecular, and optical physics and condensed matter physics. His research group at the Loomis Laboratory of Physics is using quantum simulation—experiments that involve ultracold atoms trapped in optical lattices that simulate models of strongly correlated electronic solids—to solve outstanding problems in condensed matter physics. His 1999 experiment that resulted in a degenerate Fermi gas launched a new frontier in atomic, molecular, and optical physics.

DeMarco is the recipient of numerous honors, most notably an NSF CAREER Award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has served on the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) and the National Academy of Sciences Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group (ISTEG). He is currently Chair of the NASA Fundamental Physical Sciences Standing Review Board and was in the 2016–2017 class of the Defense Sciences Study Group.

DeMarco received his bachelor’s degree in physics with a mathematics minor from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1996, graduating summa cum laude. He received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001. He joined the faculty at Illinois Physics in 2003, following a postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder.

Illinois Physics is well represented on the list of prior recipients of this honor. Since it was first conferred in 1985, 17 physics faculty members have been named University Scholars, including Peter Abbamonte (2014), Kevin Pitts (2013), Taekjip Ha (2009), Paul Selvin (2006), Philip Phillips (2003), Douglas Beck (2001), David Hertzog (2000), Tony Liss, (1999), Dale Van Harlingen (1998), Paul Goldbart (1996), Klaus Schulten (1996), Donald Ginsberg (1994), Steven Errede (1991), Miles Klein (1989), Stephen Wolfram (1988), Gordon Baym (1987), and Ralph Simmons (1986).