Derek Jackson Kimball, Ph.D.

Headshot of Derek Jackson Kimball

Professor of Physics



Phone: 510-885-4634

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Precision measurements in physics, Searches for dark matter, Dark energy, New forces


Prof. Derek F. Jackson Kimball uses techniques of experimental atomic physics and nonlinear optics for precision tests of the fundamental laws of physics.  In particular, his research focuses on searches for exotic spin-dependent interactions that may have a connection to dark matter or dark energy.

Prof. Jackson Kimball established the first externally funded physics research program in the history of California State University – East Bay. He has mentored over sixty undergraduate students in his research laboratory. More than twenty of his students have gone on to graduate physics programs, and three of his students have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Former students now have careers at Intel, Google, Tesla, Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, for example. 

Prof. Jackson Kimball received his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of California at Berkeley under the mentorship of Prof. Dmitry Budker, where he studied nonlinear magneto-optical rotation and its application to precision measurement of atomic spin precession. Prof. Jackson Kimball is the co-author of Atomic Physics: an exploration through problems and solutions (Oxford University Press, 2008), Optical Magnetometry (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and over 60 peer-reviewed research articles. 

Prof. Jackson Kimball served as the Chair of the California State University – East Bay Department of Physics from 2011-14 and also during 2016. 

He was named California State University – East Bay’s 2011-12 George and Miriam Phillips Outstanding Professor and in 2019 received the Spitzer Distinguished Science Faculty Award.

In 2018, Prof. Jackson Kimball was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society "for outstanding contributions to the development of new techniques in atomic magnetometry and their application to fundamental-physics research, including testing the fundamental symmetries of nature and searches for ultralight dark-matter candidates."