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Fellows Directory

Ellen Williams

Ellen Williams

Professor Ellen Williams ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2016


Ellen Williams is a physical scientist known for her interdisciplinary research in surface properties and nanotechnology, for engagement with technical issues in national security, as chief scientist of BP, and for government service as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Williams received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, her doctoral degree from California Institute of Technology and did post-doctoral work at the University of Maryland before joining the faculty there in the Department of Physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology. 

Williams' research in experimental surface science explored fundamental issues in statistical mechanics, using pioneering applications of direct imaging techniques for atomic-scale structures on surfaces.  Her work is noted for elegant experimental design and analysis that addressed issues in the fields of catalysis, thin film growth and nano-electronics. 

Dr. Williams has a distinguished history of professional service, and has been recognized with numerous fellowships and awards.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Materials science (incl materials engineering)
  • Other
    • Science policy
  • Astronomy and physics
    • Statistical
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