Miles, John, 1920-2008

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1920-12-01
Death 2008-10-20

Biographical notes:

An internationally known research engineer, who has specialized in fluid dynamics, and the associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics for more than 30 years. Miles was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1920. After graduating from high school in Oakland, Calif., he entered Cal Tech, earning a B.A. in electical engineering in 1942, a masters degree in electrical and aeronautical engineering in 1943, and a Ph. D. in electrical engineering in 1944. While working on his doctoral thesis, Miles held brief research positions at General Electric, Lockheed, and the MIT Radiation Laboratory. At the MIT lab, he came under the tutelage of nobel laureate Julian Schwinger. In 1945, Miles accepted a teaching position at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1966, he moved to the newly formed UCSD campus in La Jolla, assuming a position as professor of Applied Mechanics and Geophysics.

From the description of John Miles papers, 1943-1998. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 39528158

Biography

John Wilder Miles was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 1, 1920. After graduating from high school in Oakland, CA, Miles entered Cal Tech and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1942, a master's degree in electrical and aeronautical engineering in 1943, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1944.

During the World War II, he held brief positions at General Electric, Lockheed Aircraft, and the MIT Radiation Laboratory. His work at MIT supported research used for radar detection of German U-Boats off the coast of England. In 1945, Miles accepted a teaching position with the University of California, Los Angeles, in the geophysics and engineering departments until 1964. During this time, he became a consultant to several aeromechanics companies and institutions including the United States Air Force, Space Technology Laboratories, and Northrop Aircraft, Incorporated. In 1962, he was a visiting professor of applied mathematics at the Australian National University, Institute of Advanced Studies.

One of the prominent projects Miles co-investigated was a grant project funded by the National Science Foundation. The University of California established the primary branches of the laboratory at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) in Los Angeles and La Jolla in 1960. Miles, along with Walter Munk, George MacDonald, and George Backus, concentrated on geophysical fluid dynamics in both the ocean and the atmosphere.

In 1964, Miles moved to the newly formed UCSD campus in La Jolla, taking a position as professor of applied mechanics and geophysics, where he was also chairman of the Academic Senate, 1977-1978. He also became the associate editor of the JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS in 1964, providing editorial and peer review scholarship. He was appointed vice chancellor of academic affairs, under Chancellor Richard Atkinson from 1980-1983.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1958-1959, a Fulbrighter lectureship from the University of Australia in 1951, and the Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering in 1982.

In 2003, Miles retired as professor emeritus from UCSD.

References cited:

Of Fluid Mechanics and Related Matters: The Proceedings of a Symposium Honoring John Miles on His Seventieth Birthday, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, December 1, 1990.

From the guide to the John Miles Papers, 1943 - 1998, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

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Subjects:

  • Engineers--Biography
  • Fluid mechanics

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