Thomas Adamson | Faculty

Thomas Adamson

Emeritus Professor, Aerospace Engineering

2102 FXB
(734) 763-0075



About Thomas Adamson


California Institute of Technology
PhD Aeronautics '54
MS Aeronatuics '50
(Guggenheim Fellowship 1950-1954)

Purdue University
Aeronautical Engineering


  • Fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Past member of the Combustion Institute
  • Founding Member of Society of Engineering Sciences (1963)
  • Member of Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (1950-1963)
  • Senior member of American Rocket Society (1961-1963); Member (1953-1961)
  • Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Sigma Gamma Tau (honorary member)


  • Professor Emeritus (1992-Present)
  • Chairman, Department of Aerospace Engineering (1983-1991)
  • Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering (1961-1992)
  • Associate Professor on leave to Institute of Science and Technology (1960-1961)
  • Associate Professor of Aeronuatical Engineering (1957-1961)
  • Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Engineering (1956-1957)
  • Lecturer in Aeronautical Engineering (Feb. 1955-Sept. 1955)
  • Associate Research Engineer, Engineering Research Institute (1954-1955)

Specializations and Research Interests

  • Combustion problems, including detonation wave structure, and rotating detonation wave engines, hydrocarbon emissions from internal combustion engines, ignition and combustion in a laminar mixing region, and combustion instabilities in rocket engines;
  • Problems involving steady and unsteady transonic flows in channels, including shock wave motions and disgorging of shocks in inlets;
  • Shock wave boundary layer interaction problems, in laminar and turbulent flow;
  • Very low speed flow around spheres; and,
  • Control of bodies in hypersonic flows using blowing in the boundary layer.

Teaching Interests

Propulsion, aerodynamics, gasdynamics, thermodynamics and combustion.

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (1980)
  • Lyons Township High School Hall of Fame (2000)
  • Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award, Purdue University (2006)