CNCS Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems
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Joshua E. S. Socolar, Professor of Physics

Joshua E. S. Socolar
Contact Info:
Office Location:  096 Physics
Office Phone:  (919) 660-2557
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Physics 154, TuTh 10:20 AM-11:20 AM
    Physics 154, W 01:15 PM-03:15 PM

PhDUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA1987
BAHaverford College, Haverford, PA1980

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


Condensed matter • Granular materials • Nonlinear dynamics • Control theory • Genetic regulatory networks • Boolean networks • Tiling theory

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Sargis Karapetyan  
  • Catherine C. Marcoux  
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. Y. Yang, L. Fu, C. Marcoux, P. Charbonneau, J.E.S. Socolar, B. B. Yellen, Phase transformations in binary colloidal monolayers, Soft Matter (February, 2015) [doi]  [abs]
  2. M. Sun, X. Cheng, and J. E. S. Socolar, Regulatory logic and pattern formation in the early sea urchin embryo, Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 363 (December, 2014), pp. 80-92, ISSN 0022-5193 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Y. Yang, L. Fu, C. Marcoux, J. E. S. Socolar, P. Charbonneau, B. B. Yellen, Martensitic transformations in binary colloidal monolayers, PNAS (Submitted, October, 2014)
  4. Marcoux, Catherine and Byington, Travis W. and Qian, Zongjin and Charbonneau, Patrick and Socolar, Joshua E. S., Emergence of limit-periodic order in tiling models, Phys. Rev. E, vol. 90 (July, 2014), pp. 012136, American Physical Society [PhysRevE.90.012136], [doi]
  5. X. Cheng, D. C. Lyons, J. E. S. Socolar, and D. R. McClay, Delayed transition to new cell fates during cellular reprogramming, Developmental Biology, vol. 391 no. 2 (April, 2014), pp. 147-157 [S001216061400222X], [doi]  [abs]
Selected Invited Lectures

  1. Autonomous Boolean modeling of gene regulatory networks, May 07, 2012, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State U. [html]    
  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. Dynamics of Random Networks and Boolean Models, June 28, 2009, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA    

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