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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

  • MUSIC 126: Acoustics and Music
  • PHYSICS 136: Acoustics and Music
  • PHYSICS 151L9: Introductory Mechanics
  • PHYSICS 363: Thermal Physics
  • PHYSICS 713: Thermal Physics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Zhao, Y; Wang, D; Zheng, H; Chakraborty, B; Socolar, JES, Microscopic reversibility and emergent elasticity in ultrastable granular systems, Frontiers in Physics, vol 10 (2022) [10.3389/fphy.2022.1048683] [abs].
  • Kozlowski, R; Zheng, H; Daniels, KE; Socolar, JES, Stick-Slip Dynamics in a Granular Material With Varying Grain Angularity, Frontiers in Physics, vol 10 (2022) [10.3389/fphy.2022.916190] [abs].
  • Zhao, Y; Wang, D; Zheng, H; Chakraborty, B; Socolar, JES, Ultrastable Shear-Jammed Granular Material, Physical Review X, vol 12 no. 3 (2022) [10.1103/PhysRevX.12.031021] [abs].
  • Pugnaloni, LA; Carlevaro, CM; Kozlowski, R; Zheng, H; Kondic, L; Socolar, JES, Universal features of the stick-slip dynamics of an intruder moving through a confined granular medium., Physical Review. E, vol 105 no. 4 (2022) [10.1103/physreve.105.l042902] [abs].
  • 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].

Affiliate Topics in Materials Research