Dr. Nathan Sanders Wall, 54, a nuclear physicist who had been on the faculty of the University of Maryland since 1964, died Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He had cancer.

Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, Dr. Wall had been director of the cyclotron laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A full professor of physics at Maryland since 1967, he had served as a consultant to a number of government organizations, including the Army Quartermaster Corps, the old Atomic Energy Commission, and the Institute for Defense Analysis.

He also was a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Space Radiation Effects Laboratory, and a NATO senior fellow at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, during the early 1970s. He was a national Science Foundation Senior Fellow at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the early 1960s.

Dr. Wall was an authority in the use of cyclotron accelorators in the study of nuclei. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society.

He belonged to the American Civil Liberties Union and served on the board of the Montgomery County chapter of the organization during the early 1970s. He also was a member of the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

Dr. Wall was a native of Chicago and a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He earned his doctoral degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954.

During World War II, he served with the Army in the Pacific, participated in the battle of Okinawa, and was awarded the Bronze Star medal.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, a son, David Neal Wall, and daughter, Johanna S. Wall, all of the home in Silver Spring; a sister, Thelma Bessen, of Cincinnati, and a brother, Robert, of Scarsdale, N.Y.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel.