New department chair looks to build off past strengths in move toward future

profile photo of Mark Eriksson
profile photo of Mark Eriksson
Mark Eriksson

The Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is pleased to announce that Mark Eriksson, the John Bardeen Professor of Physics, has been named our new department Chair. His three-year term began in August 2021. Eriksson succeeds Sridhara Dasu, who served as Chair from 2017-2021.

“I’m honored to lead our department after Sridhara’s very successful past four years,” Eriksson says.

Eriksson highlights the importance of expanding and enhancing our strong teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. “Physics both sparks our imagination as people and provides outstanding benefits to society,” he says. “Our teaching — both broadly and to specialists — is one of our highest impact activities.”

The department’s teaching success goes hand in hand with its research excellence, and Eriksson emphasizes that a critical priority is expansion of research by both building on past successes and growing in important new directions.

A third pillar of the department is outreach, which connects physics at UW–Madison with audiences all around the state of Wisconsin and is a great example of the many ways the department fulfills the Wisconsin Idea. “I’m extremely excited that our department is restarting The Wonders of Physics Traveling Show, with which we aim to reach every part of the state,” Eriksson says.

Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin in 1999, Eriksson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1997 and was a postdoctoral member of technical staff at Bell Labs from 1997-1999. In his own research, he studies semiconductor-based quantum computing and nanoscience. Eriksson is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.