William Parker, PhD

William Parker


  • Electronic structure calculation
  • Science education
  • Computational material physics
I took my very first physics class at the University of North Texas and later transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where I studied for my B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Astronomy, finishing in 2002, and completed my PhD in physics in 2010 at the Ohio State University. So, I've lived in Texas and Ohio and more recently in Illinois where I did research Argonne National Laboratory and taught at Benedictine University and in Indiana where I taught at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, IN.

Teaching Interests

I'm interested in making the study of physics more exciting and real to those who undertake it. I want to learn how to construct environments that encourage the study of physics content and methodology. I also struggle to reflect the necessarily individualized process of learning in the structuring of an environment for a large group of students.

Research Interests

My research focuses on developing and applying theoretical and computational electronic structure methods to emerging materials in order to discover compositions and structures with exceptional properties. Correct simulation deepens insight into the quantum physics of electrons, and a broadened range of electron simulations continues progress toward the dream of true ab initio prediction: at any range of conditions from a chemical reaction on a surface to the high-density, high-temperature interior of a planet, using the same method to calculate any relevant property of a never-before-realized material.

Consulting Interests

Selected Publications

2024: Breakdown of a Commonly Practiced Technique in Quantum Mechanics, Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics (1919-1929 pp.)

2022: Exchange-Correlation Functional Comparison of Electronic Energies in Atoms Using a Grid Basis, Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics (3392-3407 pp.)

2021: pysky: An Application for the Planning of Multi-Target Astronomical Observations, Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics (2765 pp.)

2018: QMCPACK: an open source ab initio quantum Monte Carlo package for the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solids, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter

Research/Creative Awards

2023: Recognition for contributions to innovation, students, universities, and Wisconsin, WiSys Innovation Champion, WiSys

Departmental Service

: Program Coordinator - Physics Program Assessment
: Committee Member - Departmental Curriculum Committee
: Faculty Advisor - Society of Physics Students

College Service

2022: Committee Member - Science Night – A College of Natural and Health Sciences Seminar Series Task Force

Professional Service

2023: Other - Regional Materials and Manufacturing Network

Public Service

: Officer, Other Officer - Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum
ENVS 335 - Energy
ETHN 120 - Astronomy Native America (DV)
MATH 104 - College Math with Applications
PENG 211 - Statics
PENG 212 - Dynamics
PHYS 105 - College Physics I
PHYS 106 - College Physics II
PHYS 120 - Astronomy Native America (DV)
PHYS 241 - Scientific Programming
PHYS 295 - Physics Research Seminar I
PHYS 301 - Classical Mechanics
PHYS 494 - Internship in Physics
PHYS 499 - Independent Study:
UWP 101 - First Yr Sem: Natural/Hlth Sci
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