University of Calgary

Robert Ian Thompson

  • Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Research Affiliations

  • Faculty Member, Quantum Optics Research Group, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Calgary
  • Affiliated Faculty Member, Institute for Quantum Information Science, University of Calgary
  • Registered User, TRIUMF National Laboratory, Vancouver BC, Canada
  • Registered User, CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research
  • Member, Anti-hydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus (ALPHA) Collaboration
  • Member, TRIUMF Ion Trap for Atomic and Nuclear science (TITAN) Collaboration
  • Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Canadian Association of Physicists
    Member, Division of Atomic and Molecular Physics
    Member, Division of Physics Education
    Director, Student Affairs
  • Member, American Physical Society
    Member, Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
    Member, Forum on Education
    Member, Northwest Section
  • Member, Editorial Board, Physics in Canada
  • Member (General Faculties Committee Elected Representative), Board of Governors, University of Calgary
  • Member, General Faculties Council, University of Calgary
  • University of Calgary Representative, Board of Management, TRIUMF National Laboratory
  • Research Interests and Expertise

  • Studies of gas phase systems at low densities and low temperatures, which are carried out in ion traps, supersonic jets, and eventually neutral atom traps.
  • A member of the ALPHA Collaboration from its early days, Dr. Thompson and his group are actively involved in this international effort aimed at generating, trapping, and eventually spectroscopically studying antihydrogen to test the foundations of physics.
  • Recent, present, or near-future projects include trapping, laser cooling and sympathetic cooling of ions, mass spectrometry of trapped ions, ion processes in conventional and novel trapping field geometries, and studies of stable and unstable ionic isotopes.
  • Although initially focused on experimental work, his group's efforts now include active computational and theoretical work in cold atom physics.
  • He and his group are currently extensively in a collaborative research effort at the University of Calgary to investigate the physics of ice-metal interfaces as it pertains to sliding sports such as bobsleigh.
  • Dr. Thompson is currently looking for excellent new graduate students to join the following projects in September 2011

  • ALPHA: Trapping and Study of Antihydrogen at CERN (primarily experimental)
  • Friction and drag in ice sports (both experimental and computational)
  • Ion Processes in Trapped Particle Systems (Primarily computational)
  • Teaching Philosophy

  • Teachings always be placed in perspective - physics courses do not exist in a vacuum but are part of a larger world
  • Learning physical concepts is a participatory and collective experience
  • A physical concept or idea cannot be over-simplified
  • Publications

    Conference Proceedings

    • L. Poirier, E.P. Lozowski, S. Maw, D.J. Stefanyshyn and Thompson, Robert Ian. Getting a grip on ice friction 2011.
    • Butler, E., Andresen, G. B., Ashkezari, M. D., Baquero-Ruiz, M., Bertsche, W., Bowe, P. D., Bray, C. C., Cesar, C. L., Chapman, S., Charlton, M., Fajans, J., Friesen, T., Fujiwara, M. C., Gill, D. R., Hangst, J. S., Hardy, W. N., Hayano, R. S., Hayden, M. E., Humphries, A. J., Hydomako, R., Thompson, Robert Ian, Jonsell, S., Kurchaninov, L., Lambo, R., Madsen, N., Menary, S., Nolan, P., Olchanski, K., Olin, A., Povilus, A.,, Pusa, P., Robicheaux, F., Sarid, E., Silveira, D. M., So, C., Storey, J. W., van der Werf, D. P., Wilding, D., Wurtele, J. S. and Yamazaki, Y.. Towards antihydrogen trapping and spectroscopy at ALPHA 2011.
    • Andresen, G.B., Bertsche, W., Bowe, P.D., Bray, C.C., Butler, E., Cesar, C.L., Chapman, S., Charlton, M., Fajans, J., Funakoshi, R., Gill, D.R., Hangst, J.S., Hardy, W.N., Hayano, R.S., Hayden, M.E., Humphries, A.J., Jenkins, M.J., Jorgensen, L.V., Kurchaninov, L., Lambo, R., Madsen, N., Nolan, P., Olchanski, K., Olin, A., Page, R.D., Povilus, A., Pusa, P., Robicheaux, F., Sarid, E., Seif El Nasr, S., Silveira, D.M., Storey, J.W., Wurtele, J.S., Yamazaki, Y., van der Werf, D.P., Thompson, Robert Ian, Hydomako, Richard Alla and Fujiwara, Makoto. First Attempts at Antihydrogen Trapping in ALPHA 2008.

    Journal Article



    • 2007 - CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching - Canadian Association of Physicists
    • 2004 - Member, University of Calgary - Great Teachers Web-site -
    • 2003 - Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award - Faculty of Science, University of Calgary
    • 2003 - Student Union Teaching Excellence Award recipient - University of Calgary
    • 2002 - Nominated for Student Union Teaching Award - University of Calgary


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