Nadya Mason

Professor

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Nadya Mason

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
2010 Superconductivity Center

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Biography

Professor Nadya Mason received her bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University in 1995 and received her doctorate in physics in 2001 from Stanford University, working in the group of Aharon Kapitulnik. Her thesis research was on phase transitions in two-dimensional superconductors.

Prior to joining the physics faculty at Illinois, Professor Mason was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, where she collaborated with Professors Charles Marcus and Michael Tinkham on projects related to both carbon nanotubes and nanostructured superconductors.

Research Statement

SEM images of Nb quantum dots and contacted carbon nanotubes

Professor Mason's research at Illinois focuses on how electrons behave in low-dimensional, correlated materials, where enhanced interactions are expected to give novel results. The research is relevant to a variety of technologies, including quantum communication, information storage, and qubit control in quantum computers.

Professor Mason's current research focuses on the electronic behavior of materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, topological insulators, nanostructured superconductors, and other novel 1D or 2D systems. Typical measurements are of electronic transport at low temperatures. Typical projects include: (i) Tunneling experiments in carbon nanotubes, to study unusual correlated states such as Luttinger liquids, (ii) Studying emergent transport behavior of hybrid systems, e.g., superconductor-graphene, superconductor-toplogical insulator, graphene-PZT, and (iii) Creating planar arrays of superconducting islands, to control and understand collective phenomena in them.

Research Honors

  • Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, 2012
  • Center for Advanced Study Fellow, 2011-2012
  • Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award, 2009
  • Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow 2008-2009
  • Diverse Magazine "Emerging Scholar" 2008
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2007-2012
  • Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows 2002-2005

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

SemesterCourseOutstanding
Fall 2019PHYS 496
Spring 2015PHYS 598
Spring 2011PHYS 214

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • Outreach

Curious how stuff works? Do a hands-on experiment at home, says physicist Nadya Mason. She shows how you can demystify the world around you by tapping into your scientific curiosity—and performs a few onstage experiments of her own using magnets, dollar bills, dry ice and more.

  • In the Media
  • Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics

There are times when superconductors—materials through which electric current can travel without resistance and thus without losing energy—don’t live up to their reputation. Nadya Mason of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been making strides toward understanding when and how electron energy loss, or dissipation, arises in otherwise superconducting systems. She had planned to share this work in the Edward A. Bouchet Award Talk at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society earlier this month. (The meeting was canceled due to concerns about the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, but Physics is reporting on some of the results that would have been presented.)

Modern technology is largely based on normal conductors, but electrical currents in these materials always dissipate some energy as heat. “Superconductors give us a great opportunity to save energy by reducing dissipation,” Mason says. “But in order to use superconductors, we have to understand how dissipation affects them in particular, and how to minimize [dissipation] and control it.”

  • Accolades
  • Diversity

#90  The former U.S. national team gymnast is now making a difference in the physics lab at the University of Illinois. Through her work and presence, she helps to fill the pipeline of women and minorities who pursue physics.