Laura Van Wormer

Professor of Physics and Chair, Dual Degree (3/2) Engineering Liaison

Ph.D., M.S., University of Notre Dame
B.S., University of Toledo

108 Gerstacker Hall 
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University of Notre Dame, 1986-1991 (GPA 3.57)

  • Ph.D Aug. 1991, Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics
  • M.S. Aug. 1989
  • Arthur J. Schmitt Fellow (first year)

University of Toledo, 1982-1986 (GPA 3.58)

  • B.S. Physics
  • B.S. Mathematics with honors

Kalamazoo College, 1981-1982

Teaching Experience

Hiram College (1993-present)

  • Promoted to full professor, January 2008
  • Granted tenure and promoted to associate professor, January and May 1998
  • Responsible for courses and labs at all levels of undergraduate physics curriculum
  • Adviser to Society of Physics Students
  • Participate in the general education program through an interdisciplinary course and through the Freshman Colloquium and First Year seminar programs
  • Developed a course for and participated in the 1994 Foote Ethics Workshop

Kenyon College (1991-1993), Visiting Assistant Professor

  • Initial 1-year appointment extended to a second year
  • Taught junior level Electricity and Magnetism, astronomy laboratory, and non-calculus based Introductory Physics with accompanying laboratories

University of Notre Dame (1987-1991), Teaching Assistant

  • Lectured in first and second year physics courses occasionally (1987-1991) when professors were out of town
  • Set up and operated demonstrations (1988) for first year mechanics
  • Held weekly tutorial sessions for a three semester honors introductory physics class (1987-1988)

University of Toledo (1983-1986), Laboratory Instructor

  • Taught first year engineering physics laboratories with complete responsibility for lecturing and grading (1983-1986)

Research Experience:

Researcher, Hiram College

  • Awarded a grant by the Department of Energy to support three summers of research (Apr. 1999)
  • Collaborate with Donald L. Smith, Senior Physicist in the Nuclear Data Program, Technology Development Division at Argonne National Laboratory, working on nuclear data compilation for astrophysically important reactions, in conjunction with Michael Wiescher at the University of Notre Dame (Summers 1996-1998)
  • Awarded a grant funded by Gerstacker-Gund Fellowship to present a poster at the international conference Nuclei in the Cosmos V, Volos, Greece, July 1998
  • Wrote a proposal to Research Corporation (Apr. 1995) and was funded (Nov. 1995) for two summers of research, with money for equipment and an undergraduate research assistant
  • Awarded a grant funded by Gerstacker-Gund Fellowship to do summer research in conjunction with collaborators at the University of Notre Dame, Summer 1995
  • Awarded a grant funded by Gerstacker-Gund Fellowship to present a poster at the international conference Nuclei in the Cosmos, Gran Sasso, Italy, July 1994
  • Introduced recent shell-model calculations of proton capture reaction rates into the reaction network; continually update the library with current experimental results

Researcher, Kenyon College

  • Wrote a paper summarizing recent updates of the astrophysics database and their implications
  • Continued network calculations for the hot pp-chain
  • Have continued an experimental collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, returned for two experiments in a year
  • Grant funded by a competitive Faculty Development Grant

Research Assistant, University of Notre Dame

  • Operated the University of Notre Dame's Negative Ion Source and Tandem accelerator
  • Set up electronics for the detection system: a broad range magnetic spectrograph with a position sensitive proportional counter
  • Set up the data acquisition system, which processes the detector's signals and writes the data to tape for later analysis
  • Analyzed data: error analysis and computer-oriented fitting routines
  • Programming/computer modeling: FORTRAN graphics programming with NCAR-based subroutines; adapted and ran a large astrophysical network calculation code


  • American Physical Society
  • American Association of Physics Teachers
  • American Association of University Professors


  • Van Wormer, L., Görres, J., Herndl, H., Wiescher, M., Brown, B.A., Thielemann, F.K., AIP Conference Proceedings 327, Nuclei in the Cosmos III, Assergi, Italy (1995), 263-266.
  • Herndl, H., Görres, J., Wiescher, M., Brown, B. A., Van Wormer, L. A., Phys Rev C, 52 (1995), 1078.
  • Van Wormer, L., Görres, J., Iliadis, C., Wiescher, M., and Thielemann, F.K., ApJ., 432 (1994), 326-350.
  • Vouzoukas, S., Browne, C.P., Giesen, U., Görres, J., Graff, S.M., Herndl, H., Iliadis, C., Lamm L.O., Meissner, J., Ross, J.G., Scheller, K., Van Wormer L., Wiescher, M., Rollefson, A.A., Herndl, H., Phys Rev C, 50 (1994),1185.
  • Thielemann, F.-K., Kratz, K.-L., Pfeiffer, B., Rauscher, T., Van Wormer, L., and Wiescher. M. Nucl.Phys.A570 (1994), 329.
  • Iliadis, C., Görres, J., Van Wormer, L., Wiescher, M., Thielemann, F.K., Nuclei in the Cosmos, 1992, (Bristol, IoP), 343.
  • Wiescher, M., Görres, J., Iliadis, C., Van Wormer, L., Thielemann, F-K., Inst. Phys. Conf. Ser. No 132: Section 7, at 6th Int. Conf. on Nuclei Far From Stability & 9th Int. Conf. on Atomic Masses and Fundamental Constants, Bernkastel-Kues (1992), 845-850.
  • Wiescher, M., Görres, J., Illiadis, C. and Van Wormer, L. Revista Mexicana de Fisica 38 Supplement 2 (1992), 215-221.
  • Warner, R.E., Orr, R.J., Waite, W.F., Browne, C.P., Darden, S.E., Rollefson, A., Kolata, J.J., Van Wormer, L., Galonsky, A., Sackett, D. and Becchetti, F.D. Nucl. Instr. Meth. A314 (1992), 113-118.
  • Wiescher, M., Van Wormer, L., Görres, J., Thielemann, F.K. 1992, in Radioactive Nuclear Beams 1991: Section 4, ed. Th Delbar (IOP Publishing Ltd: Adam Hilgar), p. 353.

Oral and Poster Presentations

  • Smith, D., Daly, J., Van Wormer, L., Wiescher, M., Data Compilation and the Derivation of Reaction Rates at Stellar Energies for (p,γ) and (p,α) Reactions in the Mass Range A = 30-50", Proceedings of the International Conference on Nuclear Data for Science and Technology, Trieste, Italy, 19-24 May, 1997, G. Reffo, Editor, Contributed oral presentation.
  • Smith, Donald L., and Van Wormer, Laura A., Nuclear Data Evaluation for Explosive Hydrogen Burning on A = 30-50 Nuclei@, Second Oak Ridge Symposium on Atomic and Nuclear Astrophysics, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 2-6 December, 1997, Anthony Mezzacappa, Chairman, Invited talk contribution, given jointly.
  • Van Wormer, L.A., and Smith, D.L., Nuclear Data for Explosive Hydrogen Burning on A=30-50 Nuclei@, Nuclei in the Cosmos V, Volos, Greece, July, 1998, poster.
  • Van Wormer, L.A., and Smith, D.L., Nuclear Data for Explosive Hydrogen Burning on A=30-50 Nuclei@, University of Toledo colloquium, April 29, 1999.
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