Mason named John Bardeen Scholar

Siv Schwink

Associate Professor Nadya Mason
Associate Professor Nadya Mason
Associate Professor Nadya Mason has been appointed a John Bardeen Faculty Scholar in Physics, an appointment that will continue indefinitely.

Mason is an extensively published experimental condensed matter physicist whose meticulous work and deep-sighted approach have shed light on some of the toughest questions relating to strongly correlated electron systems at the nanoscale.

Early in her career, Mason developed innovative new methods to fabricate and control quantum dots in carbon nanotubes. She then turned her focus to the study of correlations in carbon nanotubes and graphene, where her studies opened up new areas of research, most significantly, the non-equilibrium Kondo effect demonstrated in 2006 and the determination of individual superconducting bound states in graphene-based systems in 2011. More recently, Mason turned her attention to transport properties in nanoscale superconductors, an area of research that holds great promise for power transmission and ultra-fast computers.

Mason continues to study novel, nanoscale materials that may be useful in future applications. Last year, in collaboration with colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Mason was among the first to measure superconducting surface states in a new material—topological insulators—that were not confounded by interference from the charge carriers present in impurities in the material.

Mason began a four-year term as a general councilor of the American Physical Society (APS) in January, and was recently elected Chair of the APS Committee on Minorities. She also serves as one of the theme leaders for the DOE Basic Energy Sciences cluster on quantum materials and nanoarchitectures.

Mason has received numerous recognitions for her work, including the U. of I. College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2013), the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society (2012), the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award of the Anita Borg Institute (2009), a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship (2008/09), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2007), and her appointment as a Center for Advanced Study Fellow (2011/12) at the University of Illinois. She was one of 122 young scientists to take part in the National Academy of Sciences' U.S. and Chinese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposia (2011).

Mason received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University in 1995 and her doctoral degree in physics from Stanford University in 2001. She then returned to Harvard for a postdoctoral fellowship and was in short order elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows. She joined the Physics Illinois faculty in 2005.


The John Bardeen Faculty Scholar Award is sponsored by the Sony Corporation. This award is presented to faculty members relatively early in their careers who excel in their research, teaching, and service contributions to the College of Engineering and the University.



Recent News

  • Research
  • Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Theory

A team of experimental physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made the first observation of a specific type of TI that’s induced by disorder. Professor Bryce Gadway and his graduate students Eric Meier and Alex An used atomic quantum simulation, an experimental technique employing finely tuned lasers and ultracold atoms about a billion times colder than room temperature, to mimic the physical properties of one-dimensional electronic wires with precisely tunable disorder. The system starts with trivial topology just outside the regime of a topological insulator; adding disorder nudges the system into the nontrivial topological phase.

  • Accolades
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Professor Nadya Mason has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “for seminal contributions to the understanding of electronic transport in low dimensional conductors, mesoscopic superconducting systems, and topological quantum materials.”

Mason is an experimental condensed matter physicist who has earned a reputation for her deep-sighted and thorough lines of attack on the most pressing problems in strongly correlated nanoscale physics.

  • Alumni News
  • In the Media
  • Biological Physics

These days, Cissé, a newly minted American citizen, is breaking paradigms instead of electronics. He and colleagues are making movies using super-resolution microscopes to learn how genes are turned on. Researchers have spent decades studying this fundamental question.

Cissé thinks physics can help biologists better understand and predict the process of turning genes on, which involves copying genetic instructions from DNA into RNA. His work describes how and when proteins congregate to instigate this process, which keeps cells functioning properly throughout life.

  • Outreach
  • Quantum Information Science

Two University of Illinois faculty members are at the White House in Washington, D.C., today, attending the Advancing American Leadership in QIS Summit.

Quantum Information Science (QIS) and Technology has emerged over the last decade as one of the hottest topics in physics. Researchers collaborating across physics, engineering, and computer science have shown that quantum mechanics—one of the most successful theories of physics that explains nature from the scale of tiny atoms to massive neutron stars—can be a powerful platform for information processing and technologies that will revolutionize security, communication, and computing.