Prize Recipient

Donald Coles
California Institute of Technology


"For his contributions to fluid dynamics through exquisite experiments on turbulent boundary layers, Taylor-Couette flow, vortex rings, and turbulent wakes, and his insightful analysis of turbulence data. His research and teaching has inspired several generations of students and researchers throughout the world."


Professor Coles received his undergraduate education at the Boeing School of Aeronautics and at the universities of Michigan and Minnesota, with a degree of B Aero E from the latter in 1947. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 1948 and 1953, respectively. In 1954 he received the Lawrence Sperry award from the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (now AIAA) for an outstanding contribution (his Ph.D. thesis) by a young man to the science of aeronautics. His main research interests and research publications include work on the dynamics of rotating fluids and on the properties of turbulent flow. He has made notable contributions to development of advanced experimental techniques and instrumentation. He is also well known as the author of several definitive survey papers on different aspects of turbulent flow. In 1985 he received the Dryden medal from the AIAA for a body of published work demonstrating the importance of basic research to the development of aeronautics and astronautics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society.