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

Joshua Socolar

Please note: Joshua has left the "CNCS: Center for nonlinear and complex systems" group at Duke University; some info here might not be up to date.

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.

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 2024):

    Physics 154, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    (also cross-listed as MUSIC 126.01)

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. Socolar, JES, Quasicrystalline structure of the Smith monotile tilings (May, Preprint, 2023)
    2. Basak, R; Kozlowski, R; Pugnaloni, LA; Kramar, M; Socolar, JES; Carlevaro, CM; Kondic, L, Evolution of force networks during stick-slip motion of an intruder in a granular material: Topological measures extracted from experimental data, Physical Review. E, vol. 108 no. 5 (January, 2023) [doi]  [abs]
    3. Zhao, Y; Wang, D; Zheng, H; Chakraborty, B; Socolar, JES, Microscopic reversibility and emergent elasticity in ultrastable granular systems, Frontiers in Physics, vol. 10 (November, 2022) [doi]  [abs] [reputed journal]
    4. Kozlowski, R; Zheng, H; Daniels, KE; Socolar, JES, Stick-Slip Dynamics in a Granular Material With Varying Grain Angularity, Frontiers in Physics, vol. 10 (July, 2022) [doi]  [abs] [reputed journal]
    5. Zhao, Y; Wang, D; Zheng, H; Chakraborty, B; Socolar, JES, Ultrastable Shear-Jammed Granular Material, Physical Review X, vol. 12 no. 3 (July, 2022), American Physical Society (APS) [doi]  [abs] [author's comments] [high impact paper]
    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.