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Dept of Physics


We conduct experiments on nonequilibrium/nonlinear systems including granular materials, gels, surfactants, and thin liquid films. Active areas of investigation include:

force chains in granular material
granular materials
fracture in soft systems
starburst droplet spreading on gel
convection in lawn grasses
dynamics of natural systems
surfactant dynamics at fluid surfaces
fluorescent visualization of a surfactant on waves

Contact Information

Dr. Karen Daniels258C Riddick Lab 919-513-7921
Lab229-234 Riddick Lab919-513-7965 or -1472
Offices251-252 Riddick Lab919-513-3914
Main Physics Office 421 Riddick Lab 919-515-2521

Mailing Address
Dept. of Physics
Box 8202
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695
       Shipping Address
Dept. of Physics
421 Riddick Lab
2401 Stinson Dr.
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695


We are located in the Physics Department in Riddick Lab (see campus map) on the main campus of NC State University, at 2401 Stinson Dr. Our offices/labs are on the 2nd floor.

If you drive to campus, the information booth (marked by a star on the campus map) will direct you to parking. The closest parking deck to Riddick is the Cates Avenue "Coliseum" Deck (cross under the tracks using the nearby tunnel, then turn right to face Riddick). There is also on-street (metered) parking on Hillsborough Street, a short walk away.

We are easy to reach by bus from Chapel Hill (CRX), Durham (DRX), and RDU Airport (100). Schedules/maps are available at GoTriangle and using the TransLoc Rider website/app. The stop is Hillsborough/Brooks (bus always stops, further away) or Hillsborough/Horne (on-demand stop for bus 100, closer). Currently, al buses are stopping at Hilsborough/Horne due to construction.

News from the Lab

  • Zhu Tang and Jonathan Kollmer and Karen Daniels flew to Montpellier, France to take part in the quadrennial Powders and Grains meeting. The Proceedings are open for all to read. (July 2017)

  • Welcome to the new undergraduate researchers for the summer: Emily Brown, senior physics major at NCSU, Mika Murphy, junior physics major at NCSU, and visiting students Chad Province from USC and Sydney Dorman from Haverford College. (May 2017)

  • Our group has contributed to the Focus Issue "Imaging Methods in Granular Physics" in Review of Scientific Instruments (May 2017)

  • Senior Ephraim Bililign gave a talk to the whole department, in recognition of having been awarded the department's 2017 Rodney McCormick Award for Outstanding Research. After graduation, he will be joining the University of Chicago to pursue a PhD in physics (April 2017)

  • The Physics Department recently highlighted some the department's research areas in a serious of beautiful videos. See Karen Daniels describe the lab's work in the one posted here. Physics major and filmmaker Patrick Pfeiffer and Professor Emeritus Michael Paesler deserve huge kudos for their hard work on this project. (September 2016)

  • Some of our undergraduate alumni have graduated and are off on exciting adventures this fall. José Medrano will be teaching physics at the International Leadership Charter High School in New York City, Mia de los Reyes has a Churchill Scholarship to complete a Master's degree at Cambridge University before pursuing her PhD at Caltech, and Michael Mann is headed to Cornell to pursue a PhD in geophysics. Best of luck to all of them! (September 2016)

  • Welcome to two new group members: Arne te Nijenhuis, visiting Master's student from Twente, and new physics NCSU physics graduate student Shih-Yuan Chen who comes to us from Taiwan. (August 2016)

  • This summer, we hosted two visitors in the field of active matter: Gustavo Ramirez from Hunter College, through the Triangle MRSEC REU program, and Marcel Workamp, a visting PhD student from the Dijksman group in Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter in Wageningen (Netherlands). (August 2016)

  • Congratulations to Ephraim Bililign on taking 1st prize in the Physics Department's annual McCormick Symposium. His poster was entitled "Measuring Temperature-like State Variables in History-Dependent Jammed Granular Systems". He'll be spending the summer conducting experiments on x-ray tomography in Erlangen, Germany. (April 2016)

  • We are amused to discover that, once again, our lab alumni are headed to do great things in Pennsylvania. This fall, Ted Brzinski will starting building his own lab as an Assistant Professor at Haverford College, and Stephen Strickland will join Dickinson College as a Visiting Assistant Professor. (April 2016)

  • With colleagues at the MPI-DS in Goettingen, Germany we have developed a new index-matching liquid suitable for n > 1.7, in order to improve our ability to work with ruby particles for detecting forces. You can read a short summary of how this same liquid will also aid in the development of high-resolution microscopy in LaserFocusWorld (March 2016) and Spotlight on Optics (May 2016)

  • Alumni report: James Puckett (PhD 2012) is building a research program as an Assistant Professor at Gettysburg College. Read more about his adventures on the Physics of Fish here (February 2016)

  • Welcome to postdoc Jonathan Kollmer, who comes to us after completing his PhD in Erlangen, Germany. He'll be working on networks in granular materials, and is also interested in how to apply these ideas in space, particularly on asteroids. (January 2016)

  • Interested in learning experimental techniques in granular physics? Join us at the "Imaging Particles" workshop in Erlangen, Germany (4-8 April 2016): http://www.imaging-particles.de/

  • Welcome to visitor Ward Holleman, also from the MultiScale Mechanics group at the University of Twente (NL). He will (no coincidence) also be working on sound propagation in granular materials of two stiffnesses. (December 2015)

  • Congratulations to Josh Bostwick who starts this month as an Assistant Professor at Clemson University (December 2015)

  • There will be a tutorial on granular and colloidal physics at the APS March Meeting in 2016: http://www.aps.org/meetings/march/events/tutorials.cfm

  • The work of printmaker M. C. Escher resonates with many physicists. There's an exhibit of his work at the NC Art Museum this fall, and you can hear Karen Daniels speak about some physics connections on their blog and on NPR's The State of Things. The print "Rippled Surfaces" illustrates the same techniques Stephen Strickland uses to measure the surface topography of Faraday waves. (December 2015)

  • Aaron Bardall and Karen Daniels are traveling to the Lorentz Center in November 2015 to discuss current research on the Capillarity of Soft Interfaces (November 2015)

  • Welcome to visitor Giorgio Olivieri, from the MultiScale Mechanics group at the University of Twente (NL). He will be working on sound propagation in granular materials of two stiffnesses, as part of his Masters Degree. (October 2015)

  • Welcome to new group member Zhu Tang, who moved downstairs from the astronomy group, and will be using her fluids skills to pursue a new project on granular rheology. (September 2015)

  • Congratulations to Stephen Strickland on the completion of his PhD Thesis, and to Yuming Huang on the completion of his Master's Thesis! Both will be graduating in Dec 2015.

  • Starting August 2015, Karen Daniels will be promoted to Professor of Physics. (May 2015)

  • Our recent paper was featured as a cover at Soft Matter (April 2015)

  • Congratulations to Rebekah Lee on being awarded 2nd Place for the poster she presented at the 2015 McCormick Symposium (April 2015)

  • Congratulations to Stephen Strickland on being awarded 1st place at the 2015 Graduate Research Symposium (March 2015)

  • Karen Daniels has been awarded the 2015 Equity for Women Award (March 2015)

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NCSU Image Processing Workshop 2013

Date: Friday, January 4, 2013

Location: Hill Library, 1st floor Learning Commons "Presentation Practice Room"

We are hosting a one-day workshop where grad students and postdocs can share their image-processing techniques with each other in an informal setting. Participants are invited to make a short (10 minute) presentation on an image-processing technique they use in their work, or an even shorter (5 minute) presentation on an image-processing problem they would like to solve.

To register, send an email to Karen Daniels with your name and lab group/affiliation. If you would like to make a presentation, also send a sample image that you process and a short title. Please state whether you wish to make a 10-minute "technique" talk or a 5-minute "unsolved problem" talk. Listeners are also welcome.

Draft Schedule

  • 9:30 Greetings & Introductions

  • 9:45 Short talks (bring either your own laptop or a USB drive)

    • Casey Burleyson (MEAS): Separating Cloud and Ocean Pixels in IR Brightness Temperature Images

    • Lindsay Hussey (MSE): Interfaces and Dislocations in TEM/STEM Images

    • Matthew Miller (MEAS): Detecting Drizzle from Space: Challenges in Conditional Classification, Coregistration, and Blob Detection

    • Carlos Ortiz (Physics): Using the Matlab-ImageJ Interface

    • Andrew Hall (MEAS): TBD

  • 11:00 Breakout groups on various themes (lines, particles, interfaces, tracking dynamics, etc)



  • National Science Foundation: "Acoustic Probes of Granular States" (DMR-1206808, Daniels), "FRG: Collaborative Research: Dynamics of Thin Liquid Films: Mathematics and Experiments" (DMS-0968258, Daniels), "Collaborative Research: Intermittent and steady state processes in orographic precipitation" (ATM-0908420, Yuter)
  • Department of Energy: "Collaborative Research: Cloudiness Transitions in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds Near the Azores" (DE SC0006701, Yuter)
  • NASA: "The Global Characteristics of Marine Stratocumulus Clouds and Drizzle" (NNX11AE98G, Yuter)

Gallery of Images

BurleysonYuter.png Hussey.jpg MillerYuter.png
OrtizRiehnDaniels.png PennyThompsonDaniels.png PuckettDaniels.png

Thin Fluids Day 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

1108 SAS Hall, NC State University

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Thin Fluids Day 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

1102 SAS Hall, NC State University

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