John W. Miles


John Wilder Miles (December 1, 1920 – October 20, 2008) was a research professor emeritus of applied mechanics and geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He was well regarded for his pioneering work in theoretical fluid mechanics, and made fundamental contributions to understanding how wind energy transfers to waves.[1]

John W. Miles
Born(1920-12-01)1 December 1920
Died20 October 2008(2008-10-20) (aged 87)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
Known forwind-wave growth model
AwardsTimoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1982)
Otto Laporte Award (1983)
Scientific career
FieldsFluid mechanics
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
UCLA (1945–1961)
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (1964–2008)
Doctoral students


The first 20 years of Miles' research was devoted to electrical and aeronautical engineering. He turned his mathematical abilities to geophysical fluid dynamics when he joined Scripps, and made numerous contributions to all aspects of fluid dynamics, including supersonic flow, ocean tides, the stability of currents and water waves and their nonlinear interactions, as well as extensive work in the application of mathematical methods.

Throughout his career, he wrote more than 400 publications. He has the unique distinction of being the only fluid mechanics researcher to have published more than hundred scientific research articles (117) in Journal of Fluid Mechanics.[2]

A postdoctoral fellowship has been established in his honor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. [3]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Miles, J. W. (1957), "On the generation of surface waves by shear flows", Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 3 (2): 185–204, Bibcode:1957JFM.....3..185M, doi:10.1017/S0022112057000567
  • —— (1963), "On the stability of heterogeneous shear flows. Part 2", Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 16 (2): 209–227, Bibcode:1963JFM....16..209M, doi:10.1017/S0022112063000707
  • —— (1974), "Harbor seiching", Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 6: 17–33, Bibcode:1974AnRFM...6...17M, doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.06.010174.000313
  • —— (1977), "On Hamilton's principle for surface waves", Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 83 (1): 153–158, Bibcode:1977JFM....83..153M, doi:10.1017/S0022112077001104
  • —— (1980), "Solitary waves", Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 12: 11–43, Bibcode:1980AnRFM..12...11M, doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.12.010180.000303
  • ——; Henderson, D. (1990), "Parametrically forced surface waves", Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 22: 143–165, Bibcode:1990AnRFM..22..143M, doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.22.010190.001043


  1. ^ "Obituary Notice: Distinguished Scientist and Professor: John W. Miles". Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  2. ^ 50 Years of Impact of the JFM.
  3. ^ IGPP Scholarships [1], Retrieved on 15 October 2014.

External linksEdit

  • John W. Miles at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  • John Miles Papers MSS 453. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.
  • Ristine, Jeff (November 3, 2008), Obituary – John W. Miles; Scripps researcher known for theory on waves, San Diego Union Tribune, retrieved 2010-11-11