Alan M. Nathan, Professor Emeritus of Physics

Alan Nathan being interviewed
Alan Nathan demonstrating the sweet spot
of the bat at Wrigley Field, June 1997.

Alan Nathan has been a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois since 1977. His research specialty is experimental nuclear/particle physics, with over 80 publications in scientific journals to his credit. The focus of that research has been the use of Compton scattering experiments to elucidate the structure of nuclei and nucleons. He has been a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 1992.

Selfie at Fenway Park, August 2013
Selfie at Fenway Park, August 2013.

In the past decade or so, he has expanded his research interests to include the physics of baseball and has published numerous papers in the scientific literature in this area. He has given many talks on the subject, from audiences ranging from those primarily interested in physics to those primarily interested in baseball--and everywhere in between: from middle-school kids to Rotary Clubs to alumni associations to high-energy physicists. He has served on panels advising organizations such as MLB, the NCAA, and USA Baseball on issues related to bat performance. He has been in the forefront in the use of new technologies for tracking the flight of a baseball. He maintains an oft-visited web site devoted to The Physics of Baseball that many people have found to be a useful resource on the subject. He is interviewed regularly by the media on various aspects of the physics of baseball.


  • Ph.D. Physics, Princeton University, 1975
  • Thesis Title: A measurement of the radiative widths of the 16.6 and 16.9 MeV doublet in 8Be.
  • M.A. Physics, Princeton University, 1972
  • B.S. Physics, University of Maryland, 1968

Academic Positions Held:

  • Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, 2009-
  • Associate Head, Department of Physics, University of Illinois, 2002-2005
  • Center for Advanced Study University of Illinois, Fall 1998
  • Professor, University of Illinois, 1985-2008
  • Assoc. Professor, University of Illinois, 1980-1985
  • Assist. Dean, College of Enginineering University of Illinois, 1980-1981
  • Assist. Professor, University of Illinois, 1977-1980

Other Positions:

  • Sabbatical Leave, University of Washington, 1991-1992
  • Sabbatical Leave, C.E.A. Saclay, 1983-1984
  • Visiting Scientist, Brookhaven National Lab, Summer 1980, 1982
  • Assistant Physicist, Brookhaven National Lab, 1977
  • Research Associate, Brookhaven National Lab, 1975-1977
  • United States Army, 1969-1971

Professional Registrations:

  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Member, American Association of Physics Teachers

Areas of Research:

  • Experimental medium energy physics
  • Physics of Sports

Graduate Thesis Research Advising:

  • Ph.D. Degrees granted: 10


  • Click above to download PDF file