Joseph Paulsen

Assistant Professor of Physics

Research Interests

  • Surface-tension driven flows
  • Memories in disordered materials
  • Elasticity and geometry of thin sheets


2013 Ph.D. in Physics
University of Chicago

B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, with distinction
St. Olaf College

Awards & Professional Honors

  • NSF CAREER Award (2017)
  • Grainger Foundation Fellowship, University of Chicago (2011-2012)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (Inducted Oct. 2006)

Selected Publications

Geometry-driven folding of a floating annular sheet. J. D. Paulsen, V. Démery, K. B. Toga, Z. Qiu, T. Russell, B. Davidovitch, and N. Menon, Physical Review Letters 118, 048004 (2017). 

Curvature-induced stiffness and the spatial variation of wavelength in wrinkled sheets. J. D. Paulsen, E. Hohlfeld, H. King, J. Huang, Z. Qiu, T. P. Russell, N. Menon, D. Vella, and B. Davidovitch, PNAS 113, 1144 (2016).

Optimal wrapping of liquid droplets with ultrathin sheets. J. D. Paulsen, V. Démery, C. D. Santangelo, T. P. Russell, B. Davidovitch, and N. Menon, Nature Materials 14, 1206 (2015).

Multiple transient memories in experiments on sheared non-Brownian suspensions. J. D. Paulsen, N. C. Keim, and S. R. Nagel, Physical Review Letters 113, 068301 (2014).

Coalescence of bubbles and drops in an outer fluid. J. D. Paulsen, R. Carmigniani, A. Kannan, J. C. Burton, and S. R. Nagel, Nature Communications, 5:3182 (2014).

Research Spotlight

Custom-machined force probe, built by graduate student Monica Ripp, for indenting ultrathin polymer films floating on water. Thin sheets are ubiquitous in nature and industry across a vast range of scales, from graphene to metal foil to the earth’s crust. Our goal is to uncover the fundamental principles that govern the deformation of these materials when they are pushed far away from the low-energy or spatially-uniform states that they prefer.