Joseph Shepherd
Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering
Caltech | Galcit |ME | Explosion Dynamics Lab | T5  
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Shepherd photo from 2015. Joe Shepherd is the C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. He was Dean of Graduate Studies from 2009-2015 and is currently Vice President of Student Affairs (2015-). He has been on the faculty at Caltech since 1993 and he served on the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1986 to 1993. Prior to that, he was a staff member at Sandia National Laboratories from 1980 to 1986. He earned his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech in 1981, and his BS in Physics from the University of South Florida in 1976.

During his career, Prof. Shepherd has taught and carried out research on a wide range of topics in fluid dynamics, structural mechanics, and combustion chemistry with an emphasis on explosions and high speed flow. He has led projects to investigate and improve the safety of nuclear power plants and waste storage or treatment facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the March 2011 events at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. He has investigated the causes of aircraft and industrial accidents including the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. He has assisted industrial organizations and government agencies in assessing or mitigating flammability and explosion hazards.

Information on publications resulting from research in these laboratories can be found on this webpage. The activities of the research groups are described on separate websites.

Research Groups

The Explosion Dynamics Laboratory specializes in studies of combustion, fuel properties, fluid and solid dynamics relevant to explosions, detonations, shock waves, and high speed impact.

The T5 Hypervelocity Shock Tunnel Facility and shock tube laboratories are dedicated to the study of supersonic and hypervelocity flows with an emphasis on real gas effects at planetary re-entry conditions and novel supersonic flow effects.