Joanna Austin

Professor of Aerospace

Joanna Austin's research is focused on fundamental problems in reactive, compressible flows across a broad range of applications, including hypervelocity flight and planetary entry, supersonic combustion and detonation, bubble dynamics, and explosive geological events.

Soon-Jo Chung

Bren Professor of Aerospace; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist

Professor Chung's research focuses on distributed spacecraft systems, space autonomous systems, and aerospace robotics, and in particular, on the theory and application of complex nonlinear dynamics, control, estimation, guidance, and navigation of autonomous space and air vehicles.

Michael H. Dickinson

Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering and Aeronautics

Paul E. Dimotakis

John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics

Professor Dimotakis focuses on experimental and computational research on turbulent mixing and chemical reactions in subsonic and supersonic free-shear flows; hypersonic propulsion; mixing and the geometry of surfaces and interfaces in turbulence; scalar dispersion in turbulent flows; and related areas.

Space-Related Research

Recent space-related research has been in collaboration with JPL on remote sensing of the atmosphere from space and on the technical feasibility of an asteroid-return mission. Other space-related research has been on high-speed/hypersonic endoatmospheric flight and propulsion, and parachute dynamics for entry, descent, and landing, as well as physics and issues related to a Europa melt-probe to descend to the liquid-water layer.

Morteza Gharib

Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Booth-Kresa Leadership Chair, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories; Director, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies

Professor Gharib’s current research interests in conventional fluid dynamics and aeronautics include

Vortex dynamics, active and passive flow control, nano/micro fluid dynamics, autonomous flight and underwater systems, as well as advanced flow-imaging diagnostics.

His bio-mechanics and medical engineering research activities can be categorized in two areas:

1.      fluid dynamics of physiological machines such as the human cardiovascular system and ophthalmology as well as aquatic-breathing/propulsion

2.      development of medical devices such as heart valves, cardiovascular and human eye health monitoring and drug delivery systems

Beverley J. McKeon

Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics

Professor McKeon explores new ways to manipulate or control the boundary layer—the thin layer between a material and flowing air—to improve flow characteristics, such as a reduction of drag, noise, and structural loading or expansion of vehicle performance envelopes during travel. The unifying theme to her work is an experimental and theoretical approach at the intersection of fluid mechanics, control, and materials science to investigate fundamental flow questions, address efficiency and performance challenges in aerospace vehicle design, and respond to the energy conservation imperative in novel and efficient ways.


Specific interests include:

Modeling and control of wall-bounded flows using smart, morphing surfaces. Resolvent analysis as a tool for modeling turbulent, transitional and controlled flows; rigorous, system-level tools for understanding flow physics and design of flow control schemes. Assimilation of experimental data for efficient low-order flow modeling.

Measurement, definition and description of high Reynolds number wall turbulence. Interdisciplinary approaches to experimental flow manipulation for performance enhancement and understanding of fundamental flow physics; application of new materials to flow control.

Dan Meiron

Fletcher Jones Professor of Aeronautics and Applied and Computational Mathematics

Professor Meiron's research focuses on computation and modelling of basic fluid mechanical phenomena. Particular interests include shock driven flow instabilities, turbulence, simulation approaches for high strain rate solid mechanics. He is also interested on development of adaptive numeriocal methods for such flows that are suitable for high performance computation.

Michael Ortiz

Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

Professor Ortiz's research interests include solid mechanics, computational mechanics, and nonlinear and failure processes in solids.

Sergio Pellegrino

Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project

Professor Pellegrino's research focuses on lightweight structures and particularly on problems involving packaging, deployment, shape control and stability.

Dale I. Pullin

Robert H. Goddard Professor of Aeronautics

Several active research areas at present; (1) development of large-eddy simulation for high-Reynolds number wall-bounded turbulent flow, particularly bluff-body flows, (2) shock-driven flows in both fluids and solids, (3)  development of new numerical methods for the solution of the Boltzman equation.

Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran

John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science

Professor Ravichandran's research focuses on deformation and failure of materials, dynamic behavior, wave propagation, micro/nano mechanics, composites, active materials, biomaterials and cell mechanics, and experimental mechanics.

Ares J. Rosakis

Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

Solid mechanics, dynamic mechanical properties, ballistic impact, hypervelocity impact of micrometeorites on spacecraft, dynamic fracture and fragmentation, adiabatic shear banding, mechanics of metallic glasses, mechanics of thin films, mechanics of geological materials, restoration of ancient stone monuments, earthquake fault mechanics, induced seismicity.

Joseph E. Shepherd

C. L. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering; Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair, Student Affairs; Vice President for Student Affairs

Joe Shepherd's research  focuses on transient combustion, high-speed flow, fluid-structure interaction, industrial (including nuclear power) and aviation safety.  His explosion dynamics research group uses theory, numerical simulations and experiments in shock tubes, detonation tubes, flow reactors, and combustion vessels to study themal and spark ignition, flame and detonation propagation in a wide range of fuel-oxidizer systems relevant to propulsion and safety.  He works with Prof. Austin' hypesonic flow research group and Prof. Hornung on high-enthalpy flow analyses and experimentation in the GALCIT T5, HET and Ludweig tube facilities.

Space-Related Research

Chemical propulsion systems; explosion hazards in launch vehicles and spacecraft.

Medical Engineering-Related Research

Autoinjector dynamics, in-situ measurements, numerical simulation and modeling.

Sandra M. Troian

Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering

The Laboratory of Interfacial and Small Scale Transport {LIS2T} in the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology specializes in both fundamental analysis and engineering design of micro/nanoscale fluidic systems. Of particular interest are small scale systems  dominated by large surface forces due to patterned capillary, van der Waals, Maxwell, thermocapillary and Marangoni fields. Theoretical analysis, numerical simulations (both continuum and molecular scale) and experimentation are all used to develop fundamental physical insight as well as robust design principles for application driven projects. Group focus is on formation, propagation, stability, coupling and control of nonlinear wave phenomena at the micro/nanoscale which induces rapid transport of mass, momentum and heat at moving interfaces. Systems of current theoretical interest include cusp formation in thermally and electrically driven thin films for super anti-reflecting coatings and space micropropulsion devices; nanofluidic phenomena involving Kapitza thermal jumps, layering transitions and thermal rectification in nanoscale devices; spatio-temporal parametric resonance and array formations in thin polymeric films exposed to large thermocapillary and Maxwell patterned fields; Lyapunov, modal and transient growth stability analyses of non-normal systems at zero Reynolds number; capillary and field enhanced propellant management systems for space micropropulsion applications; and solution of inverse problems for 3D lithographic patterning of nanofilms. Systems of current experimental interest include non-contact lithography of 3D micro-optical structures by patterned external fields; Marangoni wave phenomena and fractal wavefronts in biophysical systems; influence of layering transitions on slip behavior in nanoscale films; and optical wave propagation in structured polymeric waveguides.

Michael Watkins

Vice President and Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Professor of Aerospace and Geophysics


Donald S. Cohen

Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus

Fred Culick

Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus

Hans G. Hornung

C. L. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus

Wolfgang Knauss

Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Emeritus

Anthony Leonard

Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus