James H. Buckley

James H. Buckley

​Professor of Physics
PhD, University of Chicago
BS, University of Toledo
research interests:
  • Particle Astrophysics
  • Axion dark matter searches with ADMX
  • Gamma-ray searches for dark matter
  • Multi-messenger time-domain astrophysics
  • Development of space and ground-based gamma-ray experiments (VERITAS, CTA and APT)
  • Development of photonic semiconductor and superconducting devices
  • Development of high-speed imaging sensors for astrophysics and biomedical imaging.

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1105-109-02
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Buckley specializes in astrophysical research in high-energy phenomena. His research interests include the origin of cosmic rays, gamma-ray and multi-wavelength observations of active galaxies and experimental cosmology.​

Awards & Honors

Google Scholar h-index: 83 with over 24,500 citations

2020 Fellow of the American Physical Society
2016 Outstanding Referee for Physical Review Letters
2004 The Academy of Science of St. Louis Innovation Award
1998 Department of Energy, Outstanding Junior Investigator Award
1997 The Shakti Duggal Award - 25th International Cosmic Ray Conference
1996 Smithsonian Institution Special Achievement Award
1989-1992 NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program grant


  • Leader of the cold-electronics task in the ADMX collaboration, working with WU faculty Murch and Henriksen on the development of quantum-limited-sensors for the current experiment and the proposed ADMX-EFR experiment.

  • Development of quantum-noise limited sensors for dark matter searches, including a new DOE-funded program to grow high quality NbTiN superconducting thin films by Molecular Beam Epitaxy to produce parametric amplifiers and other devices that can operate in a high magnetic field.

  • PI of an NSF ATI proposal to add a wide-field, high-speed optical monitoring capability to VERITAS for searches for stellar occultation by outer solar system bodies, and to search for optical counterparts of astrophysical transients such as Fast Radio Bursts.

  • Founding member of VERITAS and the US-CTA consortium and contributor to the development of the field of ground-based gamma-ray astronomy.  Technical contributions to the experiments include the design of key elements of the camera readout electronics.

  • Early work on establishing the potential of ground-based gamma-ray measurements (and multi wavelength data) for studying active galaxies, searching for the origins of galactic cosmic rays (through observations of supernova remnants), and searching for gamma-ray signatures of annihilating dark matter.

  • Spokesperson for the Advanced Particle-astrophysics Telescope (APT) - A probe-class mission concept aimed at providing instantaneous all-sky coverage of MeV transients for multi messenger studies of compact-object mergers and to continue the work of Fermi to constrain the natural parameter space for WIMP dark matter.

  • PI and Spokesperson of ADAPT - an approved NASA suborbital mission for MeV-GeV gamma-ray measurements (and pathfinder for APT)  scheduled for a 2025 flight from McMurdo, Antarctica.

recent courses

Electronics Laboratory (Physics 321)

Elements of linear and nonlinear circuits, amplifiers, feedback, with applications in experimental physics.

    Introduction to Astrophysics (Physics 312)

    This course covers the physics needed for higher level astrophysics courses, and is a requirement for those courses. Furthermore, it gives a first introduction to several topics in modern astrophysics, including stars (stellar structure and evolution), compact objects (neutron stars and black holes), galaxies (galactic structure), and cosmology. The course should be taken by everybody interested in astrophysics.

      Stellar Astrophysics (Physics 556)

      Discusses the physical processes that play a role inside stars. Relevant physical processes include emission and absorption processes, radiation transfer, convective transfer, the weak and strong interactions, nuclear processes and nuclear burning, and the thermodynamics of equilibrium and non-equilibrium processes in stellar interiors. Subsequently, these processes are used to explain the structure and evolution of stars of different mass ranges. Finally, the course discusses endpoints of stellar evolution of including white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, supernova explosions, and gamma-ray bursts.

        Electricity and Magnetism II (Physics 422)

        The second course in a two part series covering the classical theory of electricity and magnetism leading to the derivation and application of Maxwell's equation. Topics in electrodynamics including Faraday's law, the displacement current and Maxwell's equations in vacuum and in matter are covered. Electromagnetic waves and radiation, special relativity and relativistic electrodynamics will also be discussed.

          From our podcast:

          Hold That Thought Podcast

          The Search for Dark Matter

          James Buckley has spent part of his career hunting for neutralinos, a yet-undiscovered type of particle that may hold the answer to the dark-matter mystery. Buckley describes the evidence for the existence of neutralinos, the methods he uses to seek them out, and how he first became interested in the "dark and violent" side of the universe