Howard A. Stone,
Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Chair
Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) California Institute of Technology
In 2008, Stone was the winner of the inaugural Batchelor Prize sponsored by the Journal of Fluid Mechanics for the breadth and depth of his research over a 10-year period (1998-2007) and for his widely acknowledged leadership in fluid mechanics generally. Stone did his undergraduate studies at University of California at Davis and earned his Ph.D. at Caltech. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1989 after spending one year as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University.
His research has been concerned with a variety of fundamental problems in fluid motions dominated by viscosity, so-called low Reynolds number flows, and has frequently featured a combination of theory, computer simulation and modeling, and experiments to provide a quantitative understanding of the flow phenomenon under investigation. Stone's studies have also been directed toward heat transfer and mass transfer problems involving convection, diffusion and surface reactions. He has made contributions to a wide range of problems involving effects of surface tension, buoyancy, fluid rotation, and surfactants. He has also studied problems concerning the flow of lipid bilayers and monolayers, and has investigated the motions of particles suspended in such interfacial layers.
In 2000, Stone was named a Harvard College Professor, an appointment established in 1997 to honor outstanding service to undergraduate education. He credited his students for making teaching enjoyable: "They have been a source of questions, insights, and continued learning for me." The following quote, he said, summarizes his philosophy of teaching: "‘The sickness of man lies in his fondness for playing teacher to others. Thus in a world full of gurus, I claim merely the title of a guide, to be dismissed at the end of the journey.’”