Nathan Mueggenburg

Associate Professor of Physics


Associate Professor of Physics


Granular materials
Nonequilibrium dynamics
Athermal systems
Pattern formation


PhD Physics, The University of Chicago
Thesis: The Behavior of Granular Materials under Cyclic Shear
MS Physics, The University of Chicago
BA in Physics and Mathematics, magna cum laude, Illinois Wesleyan University

Courses Taught

Introductory (non-calculus) physics (I and II)
Introductory / general physics laboratory
First-Year Studies laboratory
Modern physics
Modern physics laboratory
Electricity and magnetism laboratory
Quantum mechanics (I and II)

Recent Research Projects on Granular Compaction and Size Segregation

Summer 2005 Students
  Benjamin Simpson
  Casey Tompkins
Summer 2006 Students
  Casey Tompkins
  Matt Nelson
Summer 2007 Students
  Benjamin Simpson
  Mikhail Mekaelian
Academic Year 2007-2008 Senior Thesis Student
  Benjamin Simpson

Other Experience and Activities

Faculty Advisor to Society of Physics Students, October 2004 - Present, Lake Forest College

Academic Advisor to first year students, July 2005 - Present, Lake Forest College

Faculty Member of College Conduct Board, August 2005 - Present, Lake Forest College

Member of Faculty Committee on Radiation Safety, August 2005 - Present, Lake Forest College 

Member of Condensed Matter Journal Club, September 1999 - August 2004, James Franck Institute, University of Chicago

Member of Graduate Admissions Committee, December 2000 - April 2001, Physics Department, University of Chicago

Graduate Student Representative to Teaching Activities Committee, September 1999  - June 2000, Physics Department, University of Chicago 

Professional Publications

The behavior of granular materials under cyclic shear
 Phys. Rev. E, 71, 031301 (2005)

Stress transmission through three-dimensional granular crystals with stacking  faults
 Spannuth, Mueggenburg, Jaeger, and Nagel
 Granular Matter, 6, 215 (2004)

Force distributions in three dimensional compressible granular packs
 Erikson, Mueggenburg, Jaeger, and Nagel
 Phys. Rev. E, 66, 040301 (2002)

Stress transmission through three-dimensional ordered granular arrays
 Mueggenburg, Jaeger, and Nagel
 Phys. Rev. E, 66, 031304 (2002)

Force distributions in three-dimensional granular assemblies: Effects of packing order and inter-particle friction
 Blair, Mueggenburg, Marshall, Jaeger, and Nagel
 Phys. Rev. E , 63, 041304 (2001)

Professional Presentations

A parallel plate shear cell for the observation of shear banding in granular materials, March 2004, March meeting of the American Physical Society

Force distributions in 3D compressible granular packs, March 2002, March meeting of the American Physical Society

Life’s a beach - Play in the sand, August 2001, University of Chicago, Wopat-Franck student talk series
A physicist’s walk on the beach - Stressing the sand, November 2001, Illinois Wesleyan University natural science colloquium

Probability and spatial distributions of forces in 3D amorphous and crystalline granular assemblies, March 2001, March meeting of the American Physical  Society

Permanent colloidal crystals and optically ordered colloidal patterns, August 1997, University of Chicago MRSEC REU program

Modifying Daubechies’ wavelet iteration scheme for biorthogonal scaling and wavelet functions, March 1997, Rose Hulman conference on undergraduate  mathematics

Six separate undergraduate research presentations in physics and mathematics, 1995-1998, John Wesley Powell student research conference,  Illinois Wesleyan University