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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;
  • 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
  • MUSIC 126: Acoustics and Music
  • PHYSICS 136: Acoustics and Music
  • PHYSICS 141L9: General Physics I (Lab)
  • PHYSICS 161D: Fundamentals of Physics I
  • PHYSICS 363: Thermal Physics
  • PHYSICS 491: Independent Study: Advanced Topics
  • PHYSICS 493: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Zhao, Y; Barés, J; Socolar, JES, Yielding, rigidity, and tensile stress in sheared columns of hexapod granules., Physical Review. E, vol 101 no. 6-1 (2020) [10.1103/physreve.101.062903] [abs].
  • Tian, Z; Shen, C; Li, J; Reit, E; Bachman, H; Socolar, JES; Cummer, SA; Jun Huang, T, Dispersion tuning and route reconfiguration of acoustic waves in valley topological phononic crystals., Nature Communications, vol 11 no. 1 (2020) [10.1038/s41467-020-14553-0] [abs].
  • Carlevaro, CM; Kozlowski, R; Pugnaloni, LA; Zheng, H; Socolar, JES; Kondic, L, Intruder in a two-dimensional granular system: Effects of dynamic and static basal friction on stick-slip and clogging dynamics., Physical Review. E, vol 101 no. 1-1 (2020) [10.1103/physreve.101.012909] [abs].
  • Zhao, Y; Barés, J; Zheng, H; Bester, CS; Xu, Y; Socolar, JES; Behringer, RP, Jamming transition in non-spherical particle systems: pentagons versus disks, Granular Matter, vol 21 no. 4 (2019) [10.1007/s10035-019-0940-4] [abs].
  • Wang, M; Wang, D; Socolar, JES; Zheng, H; Behringer, RP, Jamming by shear in a dilating granular system, Granular Matter, vol 21 no. 4 (2019) [10.1007/s10035-019-0951-1] [abs].

Affiliate Topics in Materials Research