Troy Shinbrot


Office Hours: By appointment
Website: Troy Shinbrot


Ph.D., Physics, University of Maryland, 1992
M.S., Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University, 1982-1983
B.A. & B.S., Physics, Reed College, 1978




  • 2013 Appointed Editor of The American Physical Society (APS)  Physical Review Applied, the newest APS journal.
  • 2011 Received over 3500 scientific citations; h-index = 27 2008:
  • 2008 Elected Fellow American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
  • 2008 Gastprofessor, Computational Physics for Engineering Materials ETH, Zürich
  • 2008 Nominated American Physical Society outstanding referee
  • 2010 Graduate School of New Brunswick, Master teacher (also 2006, 2007, 2009)
  • 2003 Award Winner, Gallery of Fluid Motion 2003b “Chaotic mixing inviscous fluids.” Also received cover picture for this Gallery.
  • 2003 Award Winner, Gallery of Fluid Motion 2003a “3D chaotic mixing”
  • 2002 Founding Organizer, Gordon conference on Granular flow
  • 2002 Inducted into Who's Who in America
  • 1995 Award Winner, Gallery of Fluid Motion 1995 “Mixing patterns for surface dominated granular flows.” Also received cover for this Gallery.
  • 1988 Ralph D. Myers Teaching Award for outstanding teaching, University of Maryland
  • 1987 Software Design Award for innovative dynamics simulation software, STSC, Inc.
  • 1985 Nominated Technologist of the Year for page turners & related patents, Xerox Corp.
  • 1984 Awarded Best of Show for book copiers, Innovator’s Show, Xerox Corp.

Research Interests

Research in our lab deals with two problems: (1) in silico analysis of brain and spinal cord injury and repair and (2) granular flow and mixing. In neuronal injury, we use genetic algorithms to simulate learning in distributed neuronal networks. We subsequently damage the networks and analyze repair strategies for comparison with data from in vitro multi-electrode array cultures. In granular problems, we are studying how grains spontaneously separate due to size, density, or electrostatic differences. We have recently been focusing on investigating how voltage differences arise spontaneously in earthquake lightning and in sandstorm electrical discharges. We have reproduced parts of these bizarre effects in both laboratory experiments and in computational simulations, and we are analyzing data to determine the root causes of these effects.

Selected Publications

  1. T. Shinbrot, “Granular electrostatics: progress and outstanding questions” Eur. Phys. J. 223 (2014) 2241-52.
  2. JR Leeman, MM Scuderi, C. Marone, DM Saffer & T. Shinbrot, “On the origin and evolution of electrical signals during frictional stick slip in sheared granular material” Journal of Geophysical Research 119 (2014) 4253-68
  3. KE Daniels, C. Bauer & T. Shinbrot, “Correlations between electrical and mechanical signals during granular stick-slip events,” Gran. Matt. 16 (2014) 217-22.
  4. T. Shinbrot, “The movable & the jammed,” Nature Physics 9 (2013) 263-4.
  5. T. Siu, J. Cotton, G. Mattson & T. Shinbrot, “Self-sustaining charging of identical colliding particles,” Physical Review E 89 (2014) 052208
  6. S. Bianchini, A. Lage, T. Siu, T. Shinbrot & E. Altshuler, “Upstream contamination by floating particles,” Proceedings of the Royal Society A 469 (2013) 20130067.
  7. T. Shinbrot, NH Kim & NN Thyagu, “Electrostatic precursors to granular slip events,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 109 (2012) 10806-10.
  8. NN Thyagu, A. Vasilenko, A. Voyiadjis, BJ Glasser & T. Shinbrot , “Stuck in traffic: patterns of powder adhesion,” Eur. Phys. J. E 35 (2012) 
  9. KA Norton, S. Namazi, N. Barnard, M. Fujibayashi, G. Bhanot, S.  Ganesan, H. Iyatomi, K. Ogawa, & T. Shinbrot “An Automated Reconstruction Algorithm for Identification of 3D Architectures of Cribriform Ductal Carcinoma in Situ” PLoS ONE (2012)
  10. E. Strombom, CE Caicedo-Carvajal, NN Thyagu, D. Palumbo & T. Shinbrot, “Simple, simpler, simplest: Spontaneous pattern formation in a commonplace system,” Amer. J. Phys. 80 (2012) 578-86.