Our Team

Director of Collaboration

sidney_nagel_smSidney R. Nagel is the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Physics, the James Franck Institute, the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College at the University of Chicago. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his Ph.D. degree from Princeton University. After a postdoctoral position at Brown University he joined the University of Chicago in 1976. He served as the Director of the University of Chicago Materials Research Laboratory from 1987-1991 and 2006-2009 and as Associate Dean in the Physical Sciences Division and the College from 1997-2000.

Nagel’s work has focused on understanding the properties of disordered materials through the concept of jamming. Another emphasis has been experiments on the glass transition, drops, pattern formation and granular materials.

Nagel’s honors include the 1999 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize from the American Physical Society and election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sid’s Website

Principal Investigators

ludovic_berthier_smLudovic Berthier was born in France in 1973. He received his Ph-D in theoretical physics in 2001 from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France. In 2002, he became a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Theoretical Physics at Oxford University. In 2004 he was appointed as a CNRS research associate at the University of Montpellier, France. In 2007, he was a visiting scientist at the James Franck Institute of the University of Chicago, US. He is now CNRS research director in the Laboratoire Charles Coulomb at the University of Montpellier.

Ludovic Berthier has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles on the topics of statistical mechanics of disordered materials, nonequilibrium phase transitions and soft matter. His early research work was devoted to understanding aging phenomena in spin glasses and coarsening systems, and violations of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem in far from equilibrium materials. During his postdoc, he started to work on the spatially heterogeneous dynamics of systems approaching a glass transition, from simple liquids to complex fluids such as colloidal glasses and gels. While in Chicago he started to work on the jamming transition occurring in granular materials, using a combination of theoretical and computational methods, and more recently got interested in the physics of active matter.

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giulio_biroli_smGiulio Biroli is research director at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of CEA Saclay and professor associated to the physics department of the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He received his PhD in theoretical physics in 2000 from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and was a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University from 2000 to 2002. In 2002 he joined the Institute for Theoretical Physics of CEA Saclay. From 2011 until 2015 he was professor associated at the Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau).

Biroli’s research interests include several topics in statistical physics and theoretical condensed matter. His best known works are on static and dynamic length-scales of glassy systems, jamming percolation and finite dimensional models of glasses, classical and quantum out of equilibrium phenomena, random matrices and optimization problems.

Biroli has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, written several reviews and edited one book. He has been awarded an ERC Consolidator grant in 2011. He has supervised 6 PhD students and mentored 8 postdocs. He is the director of the Beg Rohu summer school of statistical physics and condensed matter. In 2007 he received the Young Scientist Award (the junior Boltzmann medal) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics for his studies on the thermodynamics and dynamical properties of the glass transition and jamming phenomena.

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patrick_charbonneau_smPatrick Charbonneau studies soft matter at Duke University, where he is an associate professor of chemistry and physics. Originally from Montreal, he obtained his Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University in 2006 and was then a Marie-Curie Fellow at Amolf, in Amsterdam, before joining Duke in 2008.

Charbonneau’s research focuses on the glass problem and on colloidal and protein self-assembly, using both theory and numerical simulations. He has thus far published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers on these topics, and co-organized a number of workshops, including “Particulate Matter: Does Dimensionality Matter?” in Dresden in 2010 and “Unifying Concepts in Glass Physics VI” in Aspen in 2015. Since joining Duke, Charbonneau has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Sloan Fellowship, and an Oak Ridge National Lab Ralph E. Powe award, and been granted various visiting scientist positions.

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eric_corwin_smEric Corwin received his Ph.D in 2007 from the University of Chicago, and was subsequently a Postdoc at the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University. In 2010 he joined the faculty of the Physics Department at the University of Oregon where he has remained since.

Corwin’s research focuses soft condensed matter and non-equilibrium physics. His work on jamming focuses on the geometric structures that arise in systems undergoing a jamming or unjamming transition, with particular focus on the behavior of the jamming transition as a function of spatial dimension.

Corwin has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award.


silvio_franz_smSilvio Franz was born in 1963 in Rome. He received the PhD in Theoretical Physics in 1992 at “La Sapienza”. From 1991 to 1995 he was Post-Doc first at the ENS in Paris and then Nordita Copenhagen. From 1996 to 2007 he was scientist at the ICTP Trieste. From 2007 he is Professor of Statistical Physics at the LPTMS, University of Paris Sud.

Silvio Franz’s research field is Statistical Physics of Complex Systems. His main interests are in dynamics and equilibrium properties of Spin Glasses and Structural Glasses, and the interdisciplinary applications of Spin-glass theory to problems of biological interest, to computer science and information theory.

He has co-authored around 90 papers in internationally established journals. In 1994 he received the Gamberini prize of the Scuola Normale di Pisa for his PhD thesis and in 2007 an Excellence Chair of the University Paris-Sud.


jorge_kurchan_smJorge Kurchan was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received his BA and PhD degrees in the University of Buenos Aires, where he worked on the question of defining quantum moving frames for many-body problems. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Weizmann Institute (Israel), in Roma La Sapienza and in Ecole Normale in Paris. In 1996 he obtained a permanent position in Ecole Normale de Lyon, then in 2000 moved to Ecole de Physique Chimie in Paris and more recently back to Ecole Normale in Paris.

His main interests are (working towards an) out-of-equilibrium thermodynamics, glassy physics – he has been a specialist and an advocate of a dynamical treatment – and, most recently, the stochastic treatment of near-integrable dynamical systems.

He has been deputy Director of Institut Henri Poincare and Director of Laboratoire de Physique Statistique in Ecole Normale.


andrea_liu_smAndrea J. Liu is the Hepburn Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. She received a B. A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University. After postdoctoral positions at Exxon Research and Engineering Co. and the University of California, Santa Barbara, she joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1994. She moved to the University of Pennsylvania in 2004.

Liu is a theoretical soft matter physicist who has studied the properties of disordered solids, including glasses and colloidal or granular packings in terms of jamming and the jamming transition. She also has an interest in mechanical phenomena in living matter.

Liu is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


m_lisa_manning_smM. Lisa Manning is Associate Professor of Physics at Syracuse University. She earned her B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Virginia in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Physics from UC Santa Barbara in 2008. She has been on the faculty at Syracuse University since 2011.

Manning studies the mechanical properties of biological tissues and disordered non-biological materials such as granular materials and glasses. Much of her work has focused on deformation and failure in disordered solids. She has used random matrix theory to uncover universal properties of sound modes in these materials, and has identified soft vibrational modes as harbingers of local failure. In biology, she has explored the competition between cell-­‐cell adhesion and tension generated by the cell’s cytoskeleton to understand surface tension at the tissue level. Further, she discovered that this competition controls a new rigidity transition in tissues, a startling new member of the jamming transition family that is relevant to asthma and likely also to embryogenesis, tumorigenesis, and wound healing.

Manning has given over 80 invited talks and published 23 peer-reviewed articles. She has received several honors and awards including the 2016 IUPAP Young Investigator Prize, a Sloan Fellowship, a Cottrell Scholar award, a Scialog award, as well as several teaching awards.


giorgio_parisi_smGiorgio Parisi is full professor in the Department of Physics of the University or Rome La Sapienza. He graduated from Rome University. He has worked as researcher at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati from 1971 to 1981. From 1981 to 1992 he was full professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Roma II, Tor Vergata.

Parisi worked mainly in theoretical physics, addressing topics as diverse as particle physics, statistical mechanics, fluid dynamics, condensed matter and the constructions of scientific computers. He also wrote some papers on neural networks, immune system and the movement of groups of animals. Some of Parisi’s best known results include the Altarelli-Parisi equation for parton evolution, the KPZ equations for growth of surfaces in a random medium, the discovery of multifractals in turbulence, and the construction of the mean field theory for both spin glasses and hard spheres.

Parisi’s honors include the Boltzmann Medal, the Nonino Prize, the Max Planck medal, the Vittorio De Sica Prize and the Lars Onsager Prize. He is a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, the Académie des Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.


david_reichman_smDavid Reichman is currently Centennial Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. He received a B.A. in Physics at the University of Chicago in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at M.I.T. in 1997 where he was an AFOSR Fellow. From 1997 to 1999 he was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Utah. In 1999 he started his independent career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard. He was promoted to rank of John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences in 2003, and the rank of Professor with tenure in 2004. In 2004 he moved to Columbia University, and was appointed Centennial Professor in 2015.

Reichman has published over 150 publications. His research spans a wide range of theoretical topics encompassing both classical and quantal phenomena. He has made important contributions the theory of the glass transition, the understanding of the structure, dynamics and rheology of soft materials, the theory of self-assembly processes, the electronic, optical and excitonic properties of two dimensional solids, and the theory of relaxation and transport in correlated quantum systems.

Reichman has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Chemical Physics and Annual Reviews of Physical Chemistry. Reichman has received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the NSF CAREER award. In 2005 Reichman shared the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences with Christopher Jarzynski and Christoph Dellago “for their ground breaking developments in statistical mechanics and seminal contributions to the dynamics of disordered condensed matter.”


matthieu_wyart_smMatthieu Wyart is Associate Professor in the Institute of Physics at EPFL in Switzerland. He received his B.A. at Ecole Polytechnique and obtained his Ph.D. degree from CEA, Saclay. He was a George Carrier Fellow at Harvard University before joining the Physics Department at NYU in 2010. He became Associate Professor in 2014 and moved to EPFL in 2015.

One focus of Wyart’s work is the classification of the elementary excitations controlling the linear and the plastic response in amorphous materials. He introduced the notion that some of these excitations are marginally stable in the solid phase. Such marginality fixes key aspects of the structure, and implies that the density of excitations presents a pseudo-gap. These notions are important to describe the low-temperature properties of glasses, the elasticity near the jamming transition, the rheology of dense granular and suspension flows, the yielding transition in foams or metallic glass, and more generally glassy systems with sufficiently long-range interactions. Wyart’s work has also focused on the neuronal circuit of simple organisms. He received a Sloan Fellowship in 2011 and became a Simons Investigator in 2015.


francesco_zamponi_smFrancesco Zamponi obtained his PhD from the University of Rome “Sapienza” in 2005. He then was a Post-Doc in LPT-ENS and SPhT-CEA in Paris (2005-2007), and obtained a Marie Curie Fellowship (2007-2008). In 2008, he became a permanent researcher of CNRS and LPT-ENS in Paris. From 09/2015 he is also appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Physics Department of ENS, Paris.

His research interests are focused on the theory of disordered solids (glasses, granular matter, foams, plastics, etc.), on out-of-equilibrium statistical mechanics, on quantum disordered and strongly-correlated systems, and on interdisciplinary applications of statistical mechanics (mainly to biology and macroeconomy). He has co-authored 80 research papers, a chapter for the Handbook of Satisfiability (IOS Press), a Reviews of Modern Physics paper on glasses and jamming, a Physics Reports paper on quantum information, and two News & Views papers for Nature and Nature Physics.

He was awarded the INFM-La Sapienza prize for an experimental master thesis in 2001, the Giorgio Gamberini prize of the “Scuola Normale Superiore” in Pisa for a theoretical PhD thesis in physics in 2006, a Marie Curie fellowship for a biophysics project in 2007, a Visiting Fellow position in the Princeton University in 2009, and a MIT-France grant for scientific exchanges in 2010. He is also appointed as a regular visitor of Duke University since 2013.

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