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Nathan H. Frank

Associate Professor of Physics

I was raised in Moorhead, MN where I graduated from Concordia College, a small liberal-arts institution like Augustana. I am excited to share the physics perspective about our world with others while enjoying what I consider truly balmy winter weather. At Augustana I teach a wide variety of physics courses. I especially enjoy interactions with students and participating in the revelations students have while using active-learning techniques. These techniques were developed by the Physics Education Research community, which show significant learning gains.

I attended Michigan State University (MSU) for PhD work where I performed experiments on the atomic nucleus at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL). MSU is well known for excellence in nuclear physics research. I was drawn to this field since I have always been fascinated by the challenge in determining the structure of very tiny things (roughly 10-15 meters for nuclei). My specific area of research focuses on nuclei that are very unstable. These nuclei are not found in a scoop of dirt in anyone's backyard! Learning properties of these nuclei help us to understand the fundamental structure of the universe.

My research program is a continuation of my graduate work that involves undergraduate students that range from new assembly and testing of new devices such as the Augustana-MSU hodoscope, simulation of our experiments, and data analysis. During my time at Augustana I am first author or coauthor on 13 published papers, some of which have my undergraduate students as coauthors. In addition, my research students have presented their work at national conferences. This research is performed with other investigators in the MoNA Collaboration, which is made up of primarily undergraduate, liberal arts institutions. This work is supported by both Augustana and a grant from the National Science Foundation.

While I am keeping busy with professional work and spending time with my wife and three children under the age of 8, I do my best to have fun and find physics in everything I do.

Specializations: Nuclear physics, Nuclear experimentation


  • B.A., Concordia College
  • Ph.D., Michigan State