Experimental condensed matter physics professor Marshall Onellion has passed away

Marshall Onellion

UW–Madison physics professor Marshall Onellion passed away November 20, 2022. He was 72.

After completing his BS in mathematics and physics at West Virginia University in 1972, Onellion served in the U.S. Air Force until he was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in 1979. He then began graduate studies in physics at Rice University, earning his PhD in 1984 before completing postdoctoral research at the University of Texas, Austin and Harvard University. Onellion joined the UW–Madison physics faculty as an assistant professor in 1987.

A condensed matter experimentalist, Onellion established a vigorous research program that primarily utilized the Aladdin ring at the UW-Madison Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) located in Stoughton, WI, for innovative studies of correlated electron materials of various types, including high-temperature superconductors, thin films, and magnetic multi-layers. His workhorse experimental tool was angle-resolved photoemission that was ideally suited to the stable and bright UV SRC synchrotron source.

Over the course of the next 15 years, his work was prolific. He published over 180 peer-reviewed articles, was a thesis advisor to many graduate and undergraduate students, and trained several postdoctoral researchers.

Onellion garnered numerous awards over his career, including being named a Hertz Fellow in graduate school and earning a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award in 1987. In 1996, he was named a UW–Madison Vilas Research Associate.

For many years Marshall actively volunteered to work with science students in area high schools, primarily Stoughton High School.  In recognition of this outstanding service, in 2000 Marshall received a State of Wisconsin Certificate of Commendation for Public Service from Governor Tommy Thompson.

Special thanks to Prof. Thad Walker and Robert Sundling for contributing to this piece

Please visit the department’s tribute page to Marshall Onellion to submit and/or read stories from Marshall’s colleagues.