Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Washington

ME Faculty

James J. Riley

Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering
Inaugural PACCAR Professor of Engineering until retirement
Adjunct Professor, Applied Mathematics
Johns Hopkins University (PhD 1972)

Contact Information

  • Phone: 206-543-5347
  • Fax: 206-685-8047
  • Office: Mechanical Engineering Building, Room 314
  • Email:

Professor James Riley

Jim Riley, Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering and, until his recent retirement, the PACCAR Professor of Engineering, is a fluid dynamicist whose research and teaching emphasize transitioning and turbulent flows. He has worked extensively on a broad range of problems, among them turbulent dispersion, two-phase flows, boundary layer transition, free shear flows, chemically-reacting flows, and geophysical flows. He is a pioneer in the development and application of direct numerical simulation to transitioning and turbulent flows. His current research emphasizes turbulent, chemically-reacting flows and also waves and turbulence in density-stratified flows and rotating flows.

Among his editorial responsibilities, Riley is an associate editor for the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and also an associate editor for the Journal of Turbulence. Until recently he was a member of the Editorial Committee for the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, and an associte editor for the Applied Mechanics Review.

While on sabbatical at Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, Riley occupied the Visiting Chair in Industrial Mathematics. More recently he was a Senior Fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, Cambridge, U.K. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past Chair of its Division of Fluid Dynamics. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.


Direct Numerical Simulations reveal details of turbulent mixing between the red and blue fluids. The image is a slice from a simulation with 512x512x1024 grid points (from the Ph.D. thesis research of S. M. deBruynKops).


For a list of some of Professor Riley's recent publications, see here

For an abbreviated, PDF version of Professor Riley's Curriculum Vitae, see here