Alumni Lectures

Future Lectures

Alumni Panel Spring 2017


Alumni Lecture: Dr. Anna Quider- October 20, 2016

Title: "From Natural Laws to Writing Laws: A Physicist turned Policymaker" 



The federal government touches all aspects of our lives through its $4 trillion annual budget (less than 4% is for research and development), laws, regulations, rules, and policies.  Dr. Anna Quider will discuss her experience as a physicist-turned-policymaker working within the federal government at the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Department of State, and external to the federal government as a higher education and science advocate.  She will also briefly discuss some of the major science-related issues that are likely to arise in 2017 in relation to the outcome of the congressional and presidential elections. 



Dr. Anna Quider is the Director of Federal Relations for Northern Illinois University in Washington, DC. She earned BS (2007, Physics and Astronomy) and BA (2007, History and Philosophy of Science, Religious Studies) degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the UK, where she received her PhD degree (2011, Astronomy). As a scientist, she was Principal Investigator on a Hubble Space Telescope observing program and her scientific journal articles (many co-authored with Profs. Sandhya Rao and Dave Turnshek) have been cited over 500 times.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, and she has served as an APS Congressional Science Fellow in the US Congress, an Innovation Program Manager at the US Department of State, and as Ms. Frizzle at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

Special Seminar: Edlyn Levine-Friday, April 15, 2016

Title: “Superheating and Homogeneous Vapor Bubble Nucleation in a Single Solid-State Nanopore”



The topic of my presentation is extreme superheating and homogeneous bubble nucleation in an electrolyte solution within a nanopore in a thin, insulating membrane. The solution within the pore is superheated to well above its boiling point by Joule heating from an ionic current focused through the pore by application of a voltage bias. Continued heating of the metastable liquid ultimately leads to nucleation of a vapor bubble in the pore followed by explosive growth.


I will present a mathematical model I have developed to describe the process of Joule heating of the electrolyte within the nanopore. The model couples the electrical and thermal dynamics responsible for rapid and extreme superheating. Implementation of the model via a finite element calculation yields a time and spatially resolved temperature distribution within the nanopore region. Temperatures near the thermodynamic limit of superheat are predicted to be attained just prior to the explosive nucleation of a vapor bubble. Knowledge of this temperature distribution enables the evaluation of related phenomena including build-up of localized charge densities, bubble nucleation kinetics, relaxation oscillation, and bubble dynamics.


Edlyn was inspired to become a physicist when, during her freshman year, she was introduced to electricity and magnetism by Prof. Robert Devaty. She has since had the opportunity to research a range of interesting and unanticipated topics. These include DNA overstretching (undergraduate research with Prof. Anna Vainchtein), superheating and explosive boiling of water in nanopores (PhD research with Prof. Jene Golovchenko, in Applied Physics at Harvard University), NMR sensor design (industry research), and the fluid mechanics of cementing oil wells (more industry research). After graduation this May, she will work in the defense industry researching next-generation radar systems. Edlyn has been awarded both the NSF-GRFP fellowship and the NDSEG fellowship for her academic research.