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Dept of Physics

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)


  • Talks from the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute on Particulate Media are available here: http://pasi2014.njit.edu/Lectures.htm (November 2014)

  • Congratulations to Rebekah Lee, who has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Award for the 2014-15 academic year. She will be conducting research on the acoustic properties of granular materials. (August 2014)

  • The American Physical Society now has an official home for soft matter physics: GSOFT. Consider joining this new unit! (June 2014)

  • Congratulations to Austin Reid, who won a Chateaubriand Fellowship to spend seven months in France studying the mechanics of folding with Frederic Lechenault at ENS-Paris. (May 2014)

  • Welcome to visitor Marion Grzelka, from ENS-Cachan, who will performing experiments this summer on the fracture statistics of ultrasoft gels. (April 2014)

  • Congratulations to senior Alex Mauney and math grad student Melissa Strait, on being awarded NSF Graduate Fellowships. Alex will begin the Physics PhD program this fall at Cornell University. (April 2014)

  • Congratulatons to grad student Scott Lindauer was awarded an NC Space Grant to support research on strategies for exploration of rubble-pile asteroids, using laboratory analogues of zero-g. (April 2014)

  • Congratulations to sophomore Mia de los Reyes, on being awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. They'll be lighting the Belltower in her honor on Friday, April 11, and there will be a small celebration there at 7pm. (March 2014)

  • Congratulations to former lab member James Puckett, who will be joining the faculty at Gettysburg College in Fall 2014. (March 2014)

  • News from the APS March meeting: the press has picked up our recent work with Troy Shinbrot on charging of granular materials. Experiments in our lab are helping understand how and why "earthquake lightening" might occur. [1] [2] [3] [4] (March 2014)

  • Congratulations to Carlos Ortiz for his PhD defense and graduation. His next move is to to the University of Pennsylvania, to work with Doug Jerolmack and Doug Durian on fluvial granular materials. (December 2013)

  • Congratulations to graduate student Stephen Strickland for the successful completion of his preliminary exam. (November 2013)

  • Karen Daniels is honored to be named a University Faculty Scholar for the next 5 years. (November 2013)

  • Bob Behringer will be celebrating his 65th Birthday in October 2013, and we're throwing him a Festschrift. Read more about it here: http://bobfest.phy.duke.edu

  • Congratulations to Ted Brzinski for receiving a Postdoc Professional Development Award which will support his development of a new laboratory on entroptic entropy for PY413 "Thermal Physics" (September 2013)

  • Congratulations to Michael Kerley for receiving an Undergraduate Research Award to support his research on interacting crack pairs (August 2013)

  • Congratulations to Eli Owens, who has joined the faculty of Presbyterian College as a visiting professor (August 2013)

  • Welcome to Ted Brzinski, who has joined our lab as a postdoc. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and will be working on the acoustical properties of sheared granular materials. (July 2013)

  • Our work on measuring (or not) the equilibration of temperature-like variables in granular materials is the subject of an APS "Synopsis" and an NCSU News Item (January 2013)

  • Congratultions to Sara Berry for receiving an Undergraduate Research Award to support her research on non-circular granular materials (December 2012)

  • Congratulations to Dr. Eli Owens, who defended his PhD. But we're not losing him yet: next semester he will be the mastermind behind the Physics Department's new PY205 recitations (November 2012)

  • An image from our recent PRE on the influence of force chain network topology on sound propagation was included in the October 2012 Kaleidoscsope. (October 2012)

  • Congratulations to lab alum Adam Keith, on being named an Apker Award semi-finalist by the APS. Adam is now a PhD student at UC Boulder. (August 2012)

  • Congratulations to graduate student Carlos Ortiz for the successful completion of his preliminary exam. (August 2012)

  • We have launched a YouTube channel to share videos from the lab. Enjoy! (July 2012)

  • Summertime means visitors to the lab! This year, we're happy to host Matt Hin and Richard Sayanagi (undergrads, Harvey Mudd College, California), Song-Chuan Zhao (PhD student, MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Germany), and Kirsten Harth (PhD student, Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany).

  • Congratulations to Dr. James Puckett, who defended his PhD. His next stop is Yale University, where he will be a postdoc in the lab of Nicholas Ouellette. (July 2012)

  • James Puckett has posted his photoelastic-solving code online. Please let us know if you find it useful! (June 2012)

  • The Gordon Research Conference on Granular & Granular-Fluid Flow will be held from 22-27 July 2012 in Davidson, NC. Please join us! (Jan 2012)

  • Karen Daniels is visiting the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen, Germany during the 2011-2012 academic year, on an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship. (August 2011)

  • The NC State News office has written a popular account of our work as Dirt Whisperers

  • We bid a fond farewell to seniors Kate Foco and Melissa Fender. Kate will be pursuing a PhD in Oceanography at Scripps, and Melissa will be pursuing a PhD in Physics at the University of Chicago. We wish them both well! (May 2011)

  • Congratulations to Mark Schillaci on winning an Honorable Mention at the Physics Department's annual undergraduate poster session. (May 2011)

  • Congratulations to Melissa Fender for winning the 2011 PAMS Research Award, granted to the most outstanding graduating senior each year. (April 2011)

  • Several members of the lab are featured in the new PAMS recruiting video. (March 2011)

  • Congratulations to graduate student James Puckett for the successful completion of his preliminary exam. (February 2011)

  • Congratulations to graduate student Eli Owens for the successful completion of his preliminary exam. (November 2010)

  • Congratulations to sophomore Mark Schillaci for winning an Undergraduate Research Grant which will support his work on surfactant-driven gel fracture in the lab. (November 2010)

  • Congratulations to junior Melissa Fender who has been awarded the Physics Department's McCormick Award for outstanding research. She gave a talk entitled "Universal shapes formed by interacting cracks" on Monday April 26, 2010.

  • Congratulations to sophomore Adam Keith and junior Kate Foco for winning Undergraduate Research Awards which will support their work in the lab. (October 2009)

  • Read mathematics PhD student Ellen Peterson's article on what happens when mathematicians go into a physics lab (ours): [Link] (Sept 2009)

  • Graduate student Carlos Ortiz was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship to support his research on jamming in microfluidic systems, which he will also be carrying out in collaboration with Prof. Robert Riehn. (May 2009)

  • Senior Laura Golick received the Physics Department's "Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in Research", and senior Philip Boyne received the "Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in Scholarly Achievement" at the Graduation ceremony. Laura will be pursuing at PhD in physics Emory University, and Philip will be teaching high school physics. (May 2009)

  • Our submission to the APS Gallery of Nonlinear Images was awarded an Honorable Mention at the APS March Meeting. Watch it here: [APS] [Local Copy] (March 2009)

  • The Jackson School of Geosciences (UT-Austin) provides a lay summary of our work on the granular behavior of faults: [Link] (January 2009)

  • Congratulations to sophomore Melissa Fender and junior Adele Lichtenberger for winning Undergraduate Research Awards. (November 2008)

  • Kasey Phillips has been awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship. She will first attend the University of Cambridge to study Applied Mathematics, after which she will move to Harvard University to pursue a PhD in Applied Physics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. (May 2008)

  • Karen Daniels has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award, "State Variables in Dense Granular Materials" (2007)

  • Coverage of our work with Bob Behringer at Duke University on shaken and sheared granular materials recently appeared in Science (March 2006)



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