Royce Zia, Ph.D.

Visiting Research Scholar

Contact Information


Royce Zia came to the Physics Department in 2019. After his PhD, he was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at CERN, working in theoretical high energy physics. Subsequently, while holding postdoc positions at various universities in the UK, his interest turned to condensed matter and statistical physics. In 1976, he began a career at Virgina Tech and, after serving as Chair of Physics, retired in 2010. His recognition includes being the recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award and being elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (UK).

Since retirement, he continues to carry out research in the area of non-equilibriums statistic mechanics, working with younger colleagues in the US and overseas. Most recently, he collaborated with Daniel Gallimore ('18 UNCA, advised by Profs. Perkins and Ruiz) on a simple, yet novel, stochastic process. He is involved in a number of front-line research projects, some aspects of each are well within reach for undergraduate participation. Anyone interested in working with him is encouraged to contact him by email.


Ph.D. in Physics, MIT 1968
A.B. in Mathematics, Princeton 1964

Research Interests

  • Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics
  • Phase transitions and critical phenomena; Renormalization group analysis
  • Monte Carlo simulation techniques
  • Stochastic differential equations and field theory
  • Driven diffusive and Reaction-diffusion systems
  • Applications to, e.g., microbiological systems, population dynamics, opinion formation, adaptive networks and climate science

Recent Publications

  1. Co-evolution of nodes and links: diversity driven coexistence in cyclic competition of three species
    Kevin E. Bassler, Erwin Frey and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E99, 022309 (2019).
  2. Exact results for the extreme Thouless effect in a model of network dynamics
    R.K.P. Zia, Weibin Zhang, Mohammadmehdi Ezzatabadipour and Kevin E. Bassler, EPL 124, 60008 (2018).
  3. Driven Widom-Rowlinson lattice gas
    Ronald Dickman and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E97, 062126 (2017).
  4. Emergence of a spectral gap in a class of random matrices associated with split graphs
    Kevin E. Bassler and R.K.P. Zia, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical 51, 014002 (2017).
  5. A Heterogeneous Out-of-Equilibrium Nonlinear q-Voter Model with Zealotry
    Andrew Mellor, Mauro Mobilia and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E95, 012104 (2017).
  6. Characterization of the Nonequilibrium Steady State of a Heterogeneous Nonlinear q-Voter Model with Zealotry
    Andrew Mellor, Mauro Mobilia and R.K.P. Zia, EPL 113, 48001 (2016).
  7. Networks with preferred degree: A mini-review and some new results
    K.E. Bassler, Deepak Dhar and R.K.P. Zia, Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment P07013 (2015).
  8. Extreme Thouless effect in a minimal model of dynamic social networks
    K.E. Bassler, Wenjia Liu, B. Schmittmann, and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E91, 042102 (2015).
  9. Spatial structures in a simple model of population dynamics for parasite-host interactions
    J.J. Dong, B. Skinner, N. Breecher, B. Schmittmann, and R.K.P. Zia, EPL 111, 48001 (2015).
  10. Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics of a two-temperature Ising ring with conserved dynamics
    Nicholas Borchers, Michel Pleiming and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E90, 062113 (2014).
  11. Exact results for a simple epidemic model on a directed network: Explorations of a system in a nonequilibrium steady state
    Maxim S. Shkarayev and R.K.P. Zia, Physical Review E90, 032107 (2014).
  12. Modeling interacting dynamic networks: II. Systematic study of the statistical properties of cross-links between two networks with preferred degrees
    Wenjia Liu, B. Schmittmann, and R.K.P. Zia, Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment P05021 (2014).
  13. Modeling interacting dynamic networks: I. Preferred degree networks and their characteristics
    Wenjia Liu, Shivakumar Jolad, B. Schmittmann, and R.K.P. Zia, Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment P08001 (2013).