Dr. Lienhard's Profile

John H. Lienhard is the M.D. Anderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston where he has taught since 1980.

Dr. Lienhard holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and Oregon State College, respectively. Known for his research in the thermal sciences as well as in cultural history, he is the author or co-author of four books and more than 300 articles. He is an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Lienhard is the author and voice of more than 1,400 episodes of The Engines of Our Ingenuity, a daily public radio series about machines and the people who created them. Transcripts of all episodes are available on the Engines web site at www.uh.edu/engines. For his work on Engines, ASME awarded him the 1998 Engineer Historian award and the 1989 Ralph Coates Roe Award for contributions to the public understanding of technology. American Women in Radio and Television honored him with the1991 Portrait Division Award.

In 1991 the University of Houston presented Dr. Lienhard with its highest faculty honor, the Esther Farfel Award for excellence in research, teaching and service to his profession and the community.

A popular speaker in Houston and around the United States, Dr. Lienhard averages 50 speaking engagements per year.

Additional information about Dr. John Lienhard available at http://www.uh.edu/engines/jhlbio.htm

Born: St. Paul Minn., Aug. 17, 1930


  • Ph.D. in Mech. Engr., 1961, Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley.
  • M.S. in Mech. Engr., 1953, Univ. of Wash., Seattle.
  • B.S. in Mech. Engr., 1951, Oregon State College, Corvallis.


  • Heat transfer with phase change: hydrodynamic boiling theory, condensation, flashing.
  • Thermodynamics of phase change. Dynamics of jets and sheets. History of technology.


  • Present M.D. Anderson Prof. of Mech. Engr. and History, University of Houston.
  • 1980 – 1989 Prof. of Mechanical Engineering, Univ of Houston,
  • Summer 1981 Clyde Chair Prof., Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City.
  • 1967 – 1980 Professor, Mech. Engr. Dept., Univ. of Kentucky.
  • 1972 – 1974 Assoc. Dean/Graduate Programs, Univ. of Kentucky.
  • Summers 1975 & 1976 Visiting staff member, EPRI, Palo Alto CA.
  • Spring 1975 Visiting Prof, Chem. Engr. Dept., Univ. of Exeter.
  • Fall 1974 Nat’l. Acad. of Sci., Exchange Prof., Inst. Boris Kidric and Univ. of Belgrade, Jugoslavia.
  • Summer-1972 NSF Summer Fellowship, Catholic University
  • Summer-1970 NSF Summer Fellowship, the Smithsonian Institution
  • 1961 – 67 Assoc. Prof., Mech. Engr. Dept., Wash. State Univ.
  • Summer 1965 Lecturer, Mech. Engr. Dept., Univ. of CA., Berkeley.
  • 1959 – 61 Assoc., Mech. Engr. Dept., Univ. of CA., Berkeley.
  • Summer 1956 Engr., Pacific Car and Foundry Co., Renton, WA.
  • 1955 – 56 Instructor of Mech. Engr., Univ. of Wash., Seattle.
  • 1954 – 55 Mech. Engr., Sig. Corps Engr. Labs.; Ft. Monmouth.
  • 1951 – 52 Engr., Boeing Airplane Co.; Seattle.

Selected Honors and Awards:

  • Fellow of ASME, 1977, Honorary Member of ASME, 1995; Fellow of Am. Assn. Adv. Sci, 1989.
  • Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award, ASME/PTS 1979.
  • (for “Outstanding achievement by a Mech. Engr. within 20 yrs. or more of graduation.”)
  • Univ. of Ky. Res. Foundation, Research Award, 1980.
  • ASME Heat Trans. Memorial Award, 1980. (“Outstanding contributions to the science of heat transfer.”)
  • Elected to Univ. of Houston Chapter of FKF, 1985.
  • Best Res. Paper Award, College of Engr., Univ. of Ky. (twice.)
  • Member, ASME Distinguished Lecturer Bureau, 1986–.
  • The Kittenger Award. (for “Outstanding Engr. Prof. at the Univ. of Houston, 1987.”)
  • Engineer of the Year Award, So. Tex Section of ASME, 1987.
  • Mech. Engr. Dept. Teaching Award, 1988.
  • University of Houston Teaching Award, 1989.
  • Ralph Coats Roe Medal, ASME, 1989. (for contributions to a public understanding of technology.
  • Based on Public Radio Program, The Engines of Our Ingenuity.)
  • American Women in Radio and Television, 1990 Portrait Division Award for The Engines of Our Ingenuity.
  • The 1990 U of H Engineering Alumni Distinguished Engineering Faculty Member Award.
  • One of two 1991 awards for Special Programming by the Southern Educational Television Association.
  • The 1991 Esther Farfel Award, University of Houston, given to the university’s outstanding faculty member.
  • Finalist Award for Engines in the New York Festivals Intl. Radio Competition (one of five among 1300 entrants.)
  • Ralph Coates Roe Medal, ASEE, 1994 (for teaching.)
  • Named Outstanding Engineering Graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, 1994


  • Four books; about 300 journal articles, reports, recordings, and other miscellaneous publications.
  • 1400 episodes of The Engines of Our Ingenuity as of February, 1999.