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Joshua Socolar


Professor of Physics

Prof. Socolar is interested in collective behavior in condensed matter and dynamical systems. His current research interests include:

  • Limit-periodic structures, quasicrystals, packing problems, and tiling theory;
  • Self-assembly and phases of designed colloidal particles;
  • Shear jamming and stick-slip behavior in dry granular materials;
  • Organization and dynamics of complex networks;
  • Topological elasticity of mechanical lattices.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of Physics

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 096 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-2557
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • B.A. Haverford College, 1980

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Top 5% in undergraduate instruction at Duke University. Dean of Arts and Sciences and Dean of Academic Affairs, Trinity College. 2013
  • Top 5% in undergraduate instruction at Duke University. Deans of Arts and Sciences and Trinity College. 2011
  • Outstanding Referee. American Physics Society. 2008
  • Harvard Society Junior Fellows. Harvard Society of Fellows. 1987

Courses Taught

  • ISS 293: ISS Research Independent Study
  • PHYSICS 141L9: General Physics I (Lab)
  • PHYSICS 151L9: Introductory Mechanics
  • PHYSICS 363: Thermal Physics
  • PHYSICS 491: Independent Study: Advanced Topics
  • PHYSICS 493: Research Independent Study
  • PHYSICS 713: Thermal Physics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Kluge, L; Socolar, JES; Schöll, E, Random logic networks: From classical Boolean to quantum dynamics., Physical Review. E, vol 104 no. 6-1 (2021) [10.1103/physreve.104.064308] [abs].
  • Kozlowski, R; Zheng, H; Daniels, KE; Socolar, JES, Stress propagation in locally loaded packings of disks and pentagons., Soft Matter, vol 17 no. 44 (2021), pp. 10120-10127 [10.1039/d1sm01137e] [abs].
  • Basak, R; Manuel Carlevaro, C; Kozlowski, R; Cheng, C; Pugnaloni, LA; Kramár, M; Zheng, H; Socolar, JES; Kondic, L, Two Approaches to Quantification of Force Networks in Particulate Systems, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, vol 147 no. 11 (2021) [10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0002003] [abs].
  • Zhao, Y; Zhao, Y; Wang, D; Zheng, H; Chakraborty, B; Socolar, JES, Ultra-stable shear jammed granular material (2021) [abs].
  • Jalali, P; Zhao, Y; Socolar, JES, Static and dynamic features of granular material failure due to upward pulling of a buried sphere by a slowly increasing force., Soft Matter, vol 17 no. 10 (2021), pp. 2832-2839 [10.1039/d0sm01914c] [abs].

Affiliate Topics in Materials Research