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Faculty - Susan R. McKay – Center Director

Susan McKay Susan McKay
Professor of Physics
and Director of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education

Office:  104 Bennett Hall (111 Estabrooke Hall)
(207)581-1019; (207)581-4678


  • 1975  A.B., Princeton University
  • 1979  M.S., University of Maine
  • 1987  Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology


My research revolves around theoretical condensed matter physics; phase transitions and critical phenomena; spin glasses, amorphous magnetism, quenched disorder; nonlinear systems and chaos; pattern formation; phase transitions in non-equilibrium systems; models of lateral organization in biological membranes; science education; student learning in science.

Some of my main research foci are:

  • Renormalization-group mappings of systems with competing interactions;
  • Non-linear systems and transitions to chaos;
  • Improving science education by providing research internships for pre- and in-service teachers;
  • Development of realistic models for biological membranes (in collaboration with Professor Sam Hess);
  • Developer and graduate coordinator of the Master of Science in Teaching Program; and
  • Founding director of the University’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research.

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