Brian P. Anderson

Associate Dean, Graduate Academic Affairs
Professor of Optical Sciences
Brian Anderson Headshot

Meinel 622
Wyant College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
1630 E. University Blvd.
P.O. Box 210094
Tucson, AZ 85721-0094


  • Professor, The University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences, 2016-present
  • Associate Professor, The University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences, 2008-2016
  • Associate Professor, The University of Arizona, Department of Physics, 2008-present
  • Assistant Professor, The University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences, 2001-2008
  • Assistant Professor, The University of Arizona, Department of Physics, 2001-2008
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology/National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate, University of Colorado, JILA, 1999-2001

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • American Physical Society: Member
  • The Optical Society (OSA): Member

Awards and Honors

  • American Physical Society: Fellow, 2013
  • American Physical Society: Outstanding Referee, 2011
  • Army Research Office: Young Investigator Award, 2004
  • National Research Council: Postdoctoral Research Associateship, 1999-2001
  • United States of America: Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2004


  • OPTI 549
  • OPTI 570A
  • OPTI 571L

Specific Research Interests

  • Atomic gas Bose-Einstein condensates held in combined optical and magnetic potentials.
  • Vortices, solitons and superfluid dynamics.
  • Atom interferometry, phase transitions, and BEC manipulation using tailored optical potentials.

Research Summary

Anderson's research involves the study of quantum fluid dynamics and quantum turbulence in dilute-gas Bose-Einstein condensates, or BECs. These tiny droplets of superfluid are the coldest known objects in the universe and are created using laser cooling and atom trapping techniques. They also provide a unique and versatile medium for the experiments of quantum fluid dynamics in Anderson’s lab at the College of Optical Sciences. In a superfluid such as a BEC, microscopic centers of fluid circulation called quantized vortices may be observed using optical techniques and are conspicuous indicators of the system’s superfluid dynamics. By studying the way vortices are generated and how they move and interact, a wide range of general physical phenomena well beyond Bose-Einstein condensation may be better understood. Examples include phase transition dynamics, turbulence, reduced-dimensional quantum physics and the dynamics of quantum systems far from equilibrium.

Anderson was a member of the research team that first created and observed quantized vortices in BECs in 1999, and since then has been primarily involved in experimental, numerical and theoretical studies of vortex creation, manipulation and dynamics in BECs. Current efforts in his laboratory focus on:

  1. developing new methods for vortex generation and manipulation with laser beams for controlled studies of vortex dynamics,
  2. studying the dynamics and statistics of vortices of two-dimensional quantum turbulence and
  3. development of new methods for studying and observing vortices in BECs.


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1999
  • M.S., Stanford University, 1995
  • B.A., Rice University, 1992