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John H. Thomas

  • Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Sciences, and Astronomy, Emeritus

PhD in Engineering Sciences, Purdue University, 1966

223 Hopeman
(585) 275-4083
Fax: (585) 256-2509



Professor Thomas received his PhD in engineering sciences (1966) from Purdue University. After a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge, England, he joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Sciences (now Mechanical Engineering) at the University as an Assistant Professor in 1967. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1973 and to Professor in 1981. Since 1986 he has held a joint appointment as Professor of Astronomy. Professor Thomas served as Associate Dean for Graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (1981-1983) and as University Dean of Graduate Studies (1983-1991). Professor Thomas has held visiting appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, the Sacramento Peak Observatory, the High Altitude Observatory (HAO), University of Sydney, LAEFF in Madrid, and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. Since 1989 he has been an Affiliate Scientist at HAO. Professor Thomas was a Guggenheim Fellow (1993-94) and is a past Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society. From 1993 through 2002, he was a Scientific Editor of The Astrophysical Journal. Professor Thomas was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2000.

Research Overview

Professor Thomas' general area of interest is Theoretical Astrophysics. His research has focused on astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics, particularly as applied to the Sun. He works on the physics of sunspots and magnetic flux tubes in the Sun, solar activity and the solar cycle, solar and stellar dynamo theory, helioseismology, and MHD waves in the solar atmosphere. Although primarily a theoretician, Professor Thomas also carries out solar observations at the National Solar Observatory/Sacramento Peak and uses data from various solar space missions. Professor Thomas also participates in the department's Plasma Physics program.

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