January, 2019

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter meeting in Houston, TX was a fantastic discussion about innovation in pedagogy!  We gave a nice little talk on our work in the laboratory:

FI02: 6:40-6:50 p.m. Implementing Non-Prescriptive Experiments in the Introductory Laboratory
Contributed – Nicholas A. Mauro, St. Norbert College, 100 Grant St., Gehl-Mulva Science Center, De Pere, WI
Michael Olson, St. Norbert College

Introductory laboratories offer unique opportunities to practice experimentation, reasoning and critical thinking skills. When a non-physics major takes a physics class that has a laboratory, the development of these skills have been cited as one of the most important experiences by that student’s home department. The laboratory experience must provide the student with the opportunity to make fundamental decisions, analyze the results of those decisions, revise thinking based on observational evidence, and learn from the process. In light of recent studies suggesting that experiments without a prescriptive experimental procedure can be effective, we present results from a pilot study modifying the laboratory experience in an introductory algebra-based physics course at a small college to include non-prescriptive experiments. In this talk, we discuss the development of the laboratory, the structure of a two-week experiment with three opportunities for student-driven critical analysis, and our initial results on the efficacy of this approach.

A poster summarizing this work can be found Here: Poster_1.


Non-Prescriptive Experiments are gaining a lot of attention!

September 14, 2017

The North Central College Undergraduate Research poster session was a huge hit!  Well done all.

See the story here.

July 14, 2017

Our most recent publication on ionic liquids.  Well done Dean (’19)!  First author!

2017 Jmol liquids

August 19, 2016

Today we visited Starved Rock Hot Glass-Glassblowing Studio and Gallery in Ottata, IL.  Allie Pales, Dean Edson and Nick Mauro had the great pleasure of meeting Laura Johnson.  She was gracious enough to demonstrate a few techniques and talk to us about her work.  Please visit her website for more information about her work.

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May, 2016

One of our first publications using the NESL to investigate structure in Zr-based liquids.









April 11, 2016

Computing with quanta – extracting certainty from an uncertain world

Professor Mark Saffman

Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Monday, April 11, 2016
Smith Hall, Old Main
North Central College


Quantum computing is a few decades old and is currently an area where there is great excitement, and rapid developments. Approaches based on cold ions and atoms, superconducting circuits, quantum dots, and optical photons have all shown the capability of on demand generation of entanglement and basic quantum logic operations. Many researchers now believe that it will prove possible to build useful quantum computing machines and in the last few years the technology has started to make the transition from University research labs to industrial development. I will give an introduction to quantum computing, describe the current status of the field, and explore prospects for the next few years.

Fluorescence image of an array of 49 trapped atomic qubits.

**Refreshments served in Smith Hall at 5:45**

February 14, 2016:  News Now!

After 100 year Einstein Theory, Finally Scientist directly detected Gravitational Waves – Davenport Dailynology News

January 20, 2016

We have a new article published on the Neutron Electrostatic Levitator!

See the article in the Review of Scientific Instruments.


(NESL flying into position at NOMAD)

December 10, 2015

See some of our most recent work!  In a collaboration with Zohar Nussinov of Washington University, Peter Ronhove of Findlay University, Dandan Hu of Findlay University, Saurish Chakrabarty of Indian Institute of Science, M. Sahu of Washington University, Bo Sun of Washington University and Kisor K. Sahu of Indian Institute of Science, we explore Hidden Structures in Complex Physical Systems.

June 6, 2015

Congratulations to our graduating seniors!  Commencement 2015 was a beautiful affair.  Good luck:

Amber Betzold

Ashley Coenen

Sanfer D’Souza

Drew Doares

David Kozloff

Alex Liang

Daniel Martinez Zambrano

Tanner Rasmussen


January 1, 2015

I’m excited to say that I’ve accepted a tenure-track position at North Central College in Naperville, IL.  Starting in the fall, we’ll be packing up shop and moving south.

August 29, 2014

As summer research winds down to a close we get to share our results- check out what we’ve been up to at the Lawrence University website.

August 6, 2014

**New Result**

See our most recent work published in Nature Communications.

Virtually all liquids can be maintained for some time in a supercooled state, that is, at temperatures below their equilibrium melting temperatures, before eventually crystallizing. If cooled sufficiently quickly, some of these liquids will solidify into an amorphous solid, upon passing their glass transition temperature. Studies of these supercooled liquids reveal a considerable diversity in behavior in their dynamical properties, particularly the viscosity. Angell characterized this in terms of their kinetic fragility. Previous synchrotron X-ray scattering studies have shown an increasing degree of short- and medium-range order that develops with increased supercooling. Here we demonstrate from a study of several metallic glass-forming liquids that the rate of this structural ordering as a function of temperature correlates with the kinetic fragility of the liquid, demonstrating a structural basis for fragility.

August 5, 2014

Some photos from our recent set of experiments at the Advanced Photon Source.

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July 29, 2014

We begin a 5 day beamtime cycle at the Advanced Photon Source (Argonne National Laboratory).  Lawrence students Erika Roedl, Ben Clark and Leo Sussman and Prof. Mauro will work to capture diffraction images of metallic glasses and ionic liquids over a wide temperature range.

. . . Before:


August 4, 2014

. . . After:



The Research Commences!

June 24, 2014

Today we visited Hunting Studio Glassworks in Princeton, WI.  Leo Sussman, Erika Roedl, Ben Clark and Nick Mauro had the great pleasure of meeting Wes and Wesley Hunting and they were gracious enough to take the morning to talk to us about the physics and chemistry of glass work. We discussed with them the process of keeping the viscosity of glass withing the appropriate working range the challenge of “taming the beast” that is keeping the glass workable while making sure that the thermal gradients are minimized to prevent cracking.  Please visit their website for more information on the work they do.

Below are a few photos from our trip.

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June 17, 2014

The summer research program at Lawrence University is underway.  Our research group (Leo Sussman, Erika Roedl and Ben Clark) will work this summer on a variety of projects including developing atomic models for liquid metallic structure, studying the feasibility of diffusion bonding metallic glasses to conventional alloys, and X-ray diffraction studies on glasses and liquids.

Congratulations to our Graduates!

June 15, 2014

Many congratulations to all of our departing seniors!  In particular, we want to wish Cooper Sinai-Yunker the best of luck.  Cooper helped make some excellent strides in our research this year, putting his programming skills to the test.  Next year, he’ll be using those same skill as he heads a start up company developing computer games.