Orange Alert

Joseph Paulsen

Joseph Paulsen

Joseph Paulsen

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies


223 Physics Building
Office: 315.443.3752


  • 2013 Ph.D. in Physics, University of Chicago
  • 2007 B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, with distinction St. Olaf College

Social/Academic Links

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

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.

Physics Faculty Research Published in Scholarly Journals

(April 10, 2020)

Articles featured in Physical Review X and Physical Review Letters.

Joseph Paulsen Lab Awarded Grant from American Chemical Society

(Oct. 14, 2016)

The funds will support the expansion of soft matter physics research at Syracuse University.

Physics of Wrapping Miniature Droplets Takes Cue from Street Foods

(Sept. 28, 2015)

Joseph Paulsen publishes on optimal wrapping of miniature liquid droplets in ‘Nature Materials’

Syracuse Physicists Excel at Gordon Research Conference in New Hampshire

(Aug. 25, 2015)

Professors Bowick, Manning, Marchetti, and Paulsen among presenters

Honors and Awards

  • 2023 Physics Department Teaching Award, Phys 225, Syracuse University
  • 2022 Physics Department Teaching Award, Phys 212, Syracuse University
  • 2017 NSF CAREER Award
  • 2017 Physics Department Teaching Award, Phys 212, Syracuse University
  • 2016 ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award
  • 2011 Grainger Foundation Fellowship, University of Chicago
  • 2006 Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
Selected Publications

Cross-sections of doubly curved sheets as confined elastica. M He, V Démery, & JD Paulsen, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 120, e2216786120 (2023).

Exact solutions for the wrinkle patterns of confined elastic shells. I Tobasco, Y Timounay, D Todorova, GC Leggat, JD Paulsen, & E Katifori, Nature Physics (2022).

Multiperiodic orbits from interacting soft spots in cyclically sheared amorphous solids. NC Keim & JD Paulsen, Science Advances 7, eabg7685 (2021).

Crumples as a generic stress-focusing instability in confined sheets. Y Timounay, R De, JL Stelzel, ZS Schrecengost, MM Ripp, & JD Paulsen, Physical Review X 10, 021008 (2020).

Wrapping liquids, solids, and gases in thin sheets. JD Paulsen, Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics vol. 10, 431 (2019).