Phil H. Bucksbaum holds the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Chair in Natural Science at Stanford University, with appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and in Photon Science at SLAC. He also directs the Stanford PULSE Institute. He and his wife Roberta Morris live in Menlo Park, California with their cat. Their grown daughter lives in Toronto.
Bucksbaum was born and raised in Iowa, and graduated from Harvard in 1975. He attended U.C. Berkeley on a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and received his Ph.D. in 1980 for atomic parity violation experiments under Professor Eugene Commins, with whom he also has co-authored a textbook, "Weak Interactions of Leptons and Quarks." In 1981 he joined Bell Laboratories, where he pursued new applications of ultrafast coherent radiation from terahertz to vacuum ultraviolet, including time-resolved VUV ARPES, and strong-field laser-atom physics.
He joined the University of Michigan in 1990 and stayed for sixteen years, becoming Otto Laporte Collegiate Professor and then Peter Franken University Professor. He was founding Director of FOCUS, a National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center, where he pioneered research using ultrafast lasers to control quantum systems. He also launched the first experiments in ultrafast x-ray science at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab. In 2006 Bucksbaum moved to Stanford and SLAC, and organized the PULSE Institute to develop research utilizing the world’s first hard x-ray free-electron laser, LCLS. In addition to directing PULSE, he has previously served as Department Chair of Photon Science and Division Director for Chemical Science at SLAC. His current research is in laser-interrogation of atoms and molecules to explore and image structure and dynamics on the femtosecond scale. He currently has more than 250 publications.
Bucksbaum is a Fellow of the APS and the Optical Society, and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has held Guggenheim and Miller Fellowships, and was Optical Society President in 2014. He has led or participated in many professional service activities, including NAS studies, national and international boards, initiatives, lectureships and editorships. Within the APS he has been active in DAMOP and DLS. He has served as a Laser Science Divisional Associate Editor for Physical Review Letters, he was a member of the Physical Review Letters Advisory Board, and he has served on the APS Executive Board.