Matthew C. Sullivan, Professor of Physics

Matthew C. Sullivan

Dana Professor and Chair, Physics and Astronomy
School: School of Humanities and Sciences
Phone: 607-274-3964
Office: Center for Natural Sciences 262, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Solid State Physics and Pedagogical Physics
Solid State Physics Lab and Materials Science Facility

Discover more about Matt's solid state and low-temperature physics lab and the materials science facility where we grow and characterize our materials!

I teach all branches of Physics to students from the introductory level through the senior level at Ithaca College.  My hope is to increase students' understanding of Physics but also to increase their critical and analytical thinking skills while fostering a love of Physics and a sense of wonder about the natural world.

My research is in solid state physics.  I have spent many years studying superconductivity.  The phenomenon of superconductivity is so unusual and counter-intuitive that it never ceases to amaze me.  See the movies we've made about superconducting MagLev trains.  I also work on other aspects of solid state physics, most recently with semiconductors for neuromorphic computing.

I also go to local schools with an outreach program called "Temperature and Heat" to discuss the effects of high and low temperatures on different materials, and the how energy flows from hot to cold objects.


I teach and have taught a variety of courses in the Physics department.  I enjoy teaching all levels: from introductory courses for non-majors, introductory courses for majors, all the way to senior-level selected topics courses for majors.  My passion (and the reason I became a Physics major myself) is for experimental Physics, and I have taught several of the advanced laboratory courses.  Throughout my teaching, I emphasize analytical and critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills in a collaborative environment.

Below is the list of courses I teach or have taught at Ithaca College.  If anyone is interested in the courses below (for syllabi, course materials, etc.), please contact me via email.

  • PHYS 10200: Introduction to Physics II
  • PHYS 11400: Introduction to Experimental Physics
  • PHYS 11700: Principles of Physics I: Mechanics
  • PHYS 16000: Physics of Sound
  • PHYS 21000: Intermediate Math Skills for Physics
  • PHYS 21700: Principles of Physics III: Waves, Optics, and Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 23200: Honors Intermediate Seminar: Relativity and Quantum Physics in Society
  • PHYS 26000: Intermediate Physics Laboratory
  • PHYS 31100: Analytical Mechanics
  • PHYS 32000: Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 36000: Advanced Physics Laboratory

Media Appearances

My lab has been fortunate enough to be featured on a couple of television shows and interviewed for the radio.

On Nov. 9 2011, our outreach demonstrations were featured on The Colbert Report!   You can check out the segment here.

In May 2013, we were featured on the Travel Channel in a program about roller coasters of the future.  Will they levitate above and suspend beneath the track?  Find out here.

We were also interviewed on local radio WHCU about superconductivity.  You can hear the interview here.

We were featured on a segment about levitation for the media outlet  Check out their video.

Will we have hovercars and hoverboards?  Check out our answer, see the DeLorean, and watch Marty McFly on his hoverboard.

file-outline Curriculum Vitae - cv_matthewcsullivan.pdf (70.12 KB)