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Justin BurtonAssociate Professor

Awards and Honors

  • Sustainability Innovator Award, Emory University (2018)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2015)
  • Arthur H. Compton Lecturer (University of Chicago, 2010);
  • ICAM Post-doctoral Institutional Fellowship (2007);
  • Faculty Career Development Award (University of California, Irvine, 2007);
  • Orange County Fellowship (2004)


Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2006


View publications on Google Scholar.


Research Area

Experimental condensed matter physics, soft matter physics, non-equilibrium physics, fluid mechanics, jamming and granular physics, geophysics.

Research Interests

In our lab we study a broad range of natural phenomena, from the molecular to the geophysical scale. In particular we are interested in how the dynamics of fluid and granular flow self-organize, form patterns, and couple to other dynamical systems. These "far-from-equilibrium" systems often involve a mélange of complex interactions and emergent behavior over many different length and time scales.

As it turns out, this description encompasses a wide array of phenomena that we encounter every day. For example, a close inspection of a rain drop falling from a leaf reveals a finite-time singularity, which probes the laws of fluid mechanics on the atomic scale.

How is this singularity related to those in other physical systems? How does disorder govern the behavior of solids from glasses to granular materials? Can the coherent structures observed in many geophysical processes be understood through simple mechanisms? These questions motivate most of the research effort in our lab.