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Nathan Frank

Nathan H. Frank

Professor of Physics

LinkedIn profile

• Related: Dr. Nathan Frank named top scientist of the year

I was raised in Moorhead, Minn., 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 from first-year level to senior level. 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 Ph.D. 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 to the negative 15th power meters for nuclei). My specific area of research focuses on nuclei that are so unstable that they emit at least one neutron upon formation. Learning properties of atomic 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 ranges from new assembly and testing of new devices such as the Augustana-MSU hodoscope and a new Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant to build a charged particle detector telescope, simulation of our experiments, and data analysis.

During my time at Augustana, I have been first author or co-author on more than 42 published papers, some of which have undergraduate students as coauthors. In addition, my research students have presented their work at national conferences in numerous poster presentations. 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 multiple grants (1, 2, and 3) from the National Science Foundation.

While I am keeping busy with professional work and spending time with my (beautiful) wife and three children between the ages of 13 and 7, 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