James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1985, and following a post-doctoral Research Associate position at the Xerox-Palo Alto Research Center, joined the faculty at Minnesota in 1988. His research program is in experimental condensed matter physics, with particular emphasis on complex and disordered systems.
“The primary goal of my research is the elucidation of the properties of disordered systems.”
Current projects in the Kakalios lab range from the Nano to the Neuro. In collaboration with Prof. Uwe Kortshagen in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at Minnesota, he is synthesizing and characterizing the optical and electronic properties of hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin films containing nanocrystalline inclusions for solar cell and thermoelectric applications. In collaboration with Profs. A. David Redish in Neuroscience and Prof. T. Netoff in Biomedical Engineering (both at the University of Minnesota), he has been applying techniques developed to study electronic noise in disordered semiconductors to analyze voltage fluctuations in the brain. This project has led to the identification of a coherent oscillation in the striatum that may have implications for our understanding of Parkinson's Disease.He has also conducted extensive investigations into the dynamics of segregation phenomena in granular media
McKnight Land Grant Professor, University of Minnesota, 1989 – 1992, National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, 1990 – 1995, Institute of Technology Student Board – School of Physics and Astronomy Professor of the Year, 2003, Charles E. Bowers Faculty Teaching Award, 2003 Director of Graduate Studies, School of Physics and Astronomy, 2001-04; Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Physics and Astronomy, 2007-2010, Taylor Distinguished Professor, 2008