CNCS Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems
   Search Help Login pdf version printable version

Joshua Socolar, Professor of Physics and CNCS: Center for nonlinear and complex systems

Joshua Socolar

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.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  096 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-2557
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2022):

  • PHYSICS 363.01, THERMAL PHYSICS Synopsis
    Physics 047, WF 12:00 PM-01:15 PM

Ph.D.University of Pennsylvania1987
B.A.Haverford College1980

Nonlinear dynamics and complex systems
Theoretical condensed matter physics
Biological physics
Research Interests: Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics

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

  • Organization and function of complex dynamical networks, especially genetic regulatory networks;.
  • The spatial distribution of stresses granular materials (e.g. bins of sand, coal, pills, or grain) and jamming phenomena;
  • Controlling chaos, or understanding feedback mechanisms that can stabilize otherwise unstable ordered behavior in chaotic dynamical systems;
  • Quasicrystals, packing problems, and tiling theory.
Areas of Interest:

Theoretical condensed matter physics
Nonlinear dynamics and control theory
Statistical mechanics in nonequilibrium systems
Complex Boolean networks
Genetic regulatory networks
Aperiodic Tilings


Algorithms • Animals • Arrhythmias, Cardiac • Biological Clocks • Biological Evolution • Biophysics • Bone and Bones • Boolean networks • Cell Cycle • Cell Differentiation • Cell Physiological Phenomena • Cell Proliferation • Computational Biology • Computer Graphics • Computer Simulation • Condensed matter • Control theory • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases • Cyclins • Data Interpretation, Statistical • Diffusion • Disease Outbreaks • Electrophysiology • Embryo, Nonmammalian • Embryonic Development • Feedback • Feedback, Physiological • G1 Phase • Gastrula • Gene Expression • Gene Expression Regulation • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal • Gene Regulatory Networks • Genetic regulatory networks • Granular materials • Growth • Heart • Humans • Logistic Models • Mathematical Computing • Mathematical Concepts • Membrane Potentials • Mesoderm • Models, Biological • Models, Cardiovascular • Models, Chemical • Models, Genetic • Models, Statistical • Models, Theoretical • Mutation • Myocardium • Neural Networks (Computer) • Nonlinear dynamics • Nonlinear Dynamics • Nuclear Reprogramming • Periodicity • Physical Phenomena • Physics • Plant Development • Politics • Population Dynamics • Probability • Proteome • Public Opinion • S Phase • Saccharomyces cerevisiae • Sensitivity and Specificity • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted • Signal Transduction • Social Support • Statistics as Topic • Systems Theory • Tiling theory • Time Factors • Transcription Factors • Transcription, Genetic • Variations • Ventricular Fibrillation • Yeasts

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

    Postdocs Mentored

    • Xianrui Cheng (September 01, 2012 - March 01, 2013)  
    • Volkan Sevim (March, 2008 - August, 2010)  
    • Bjorn Samuelsson (November, 2005 - August 31, 2007)  
    Recent Publications   (More Publications)

    1. 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 (November, 2021) [doi]  [abs]
    2. 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 (March, 2021), pp. 2832-2839 [doi]  [abs] [submitted]
    3. 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 (June, 2020), pp. 062903 (Recognized by an Editor's Suggestion.) [doi]  [abs] [reputed journal]
    4. Tian, Z; Shen, C; Li, J; Reit, E; Bachman, H; Socolar, J; Cummer, S; Huang, T, Dispersion Tuning and Route Reconfiguration of Acoustic Waves in Valley Topological Phononic Crystals, Nature Communications, vol. 11 no. 1 (February, 2020), pp. 762 (J.E.S.S consulted on the interpretation of experimental results, suggested additional studies needed for clarifying key features, and made substantial contributions to the preparation of the manuscript. The primary faculty supervisors of the project were MEMS professors S. A. Cummer and T. J. Huang.) [doi]  [abs] [author's comments] [high impact paper]
    5. 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 (January, 2020), pp. 012909 [doi]  [abs] [reputed journal]
    Selected Invited Lectures

    1. Autonomous Boolean modeling of gene regulatory networks, May 07, 2012, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State U.    
    2. Hierarchical freezing in a limit-periodic structure, October 15, 2011, Princeton Center for Theoretical Science    
    3. Periodicity and chaos in delayed Boolean networks, July 19, 2011, ICIAM Conference, Vancouver, Canada    
    4. Relaxation to a limit-periodic ground state, May 23, 2011, Haverford College, Haverford, PA    
    5. Autonomous Boolean Models, June 28, 2009, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA    

    For more information, see Prof. Socolar's Home Page.