James R. Thomas Jr., professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the "professor emeritus" title by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors and associate professors, administrative officers, librarians, and exceptional staff members who are specially recommended to the board of visitors by Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board of visitors receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
Thomas, who served as investigator for approximately $2 million in sponsored research, made significant contributions to diverse research fields, including those of particle transport theory, heat transfer, thermal stresses, thermal properties of composites, nuclear reactor control and instrumentation, solar energy engineering, and microwave processing.
The author of over 90 publications in 24 journals on topics ranging from nuclear engineering to materials science and microwave power, Thomas held appointments at the University of Bologna, Italy, and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. He also served as a reviewer for many technical journals and funding agencies and as a member of the International Thermal Conductivitiy Conferences’ board of directors.
Beginning at Virginia Tech in 1974, he supervised more than 20 master’s students and seven doctoral students, and taught a wide range of nuclear and mechanical engineering courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels during his time with the university.
Thomas served on numerous committees and served two terms as lead instructor for the Virginia Tech Department of Energy Nuclear Intern Training Program.
Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.