Keith B. MacAdam was born in Rochester, N.Y., attended Swarthmore College and earned a doctorate in Physics in 1971. After research at University of Stirling in Scotland, Yale University, and the University of Arizona, he came to UK as an Assistant Professor in 1977. He built a campus-based research program in experimental atomic-molecular-optical (AMO) physics with students and post-docs, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Research Corporation. He was appointed Professor of Physics in 1986 and was a University Research Professor in 1990-91.
MacAdam’s research in crossed-beam collisions between charged particles and laser-excited atoms in highly excited “Rydberg” states was widely recognized in the international AMO physics community. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987. Research in Aarhus, Denmark, Boulder, Colo., and Stockholm, Sweden, extended his international connections.
At UK MacAdam was active in all aspects of teaching, research and service. He taught with success at levels from first-year to graduate, and he introduced and continues to teach a non-majors’ physics course “How Things Work.” He served as Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (1997-2001), on the College Executive Committee (Chair, 2007-08) and on many campus-wide committees. MacAdam was honored by the naming of the UK MacAdam Student Observatory, which opened in 2008 to serve the campus and community.