Howard Stone Inducted into National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Howard StoneThe Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) congratulates one of their own, Howard Stone, for his election into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Stone, a professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University, joins GoMRI Research Board Chair Rita Colwell as an NAS member. An invitation to join the ranks of the NAS is one of the highest distinctions that an American scientist or engineer can receive.

On behalf of GoMRI, Colwell said, “We congratulate Dr. Stone for this prestigious appointment in recognition of his many accomplishments.” Upon receiving his invitation, Stone said, “It is an honor to be recognized. My work has been largely collaborative so I am thankful to my many colleagues. They have taught me a lot and together we have made progress that others have found useful.”

Howard, a specialist in fluid mechanics and a member of the GoMRI-funded Consortium for the Molecular Engineering of Dispersant Systems (C-MEDS), is collaboratively working on the ultrafast dynamics of surfactant adsorption to interfaces that could ultimately lead to improvements in oil spill cleanup and degradation. In particular, Howard’s group is studying the dynamics of bursting at an oil-covered interface and producing nanometer-diameter sized oil droplets dispersed in the water column. They are using a multi-pronged approach – a combination of model simulations along with physiocochemical lab experiments – to compare results quantitatively and improve understanding about the fate of oil treated with dispersants. In addition to his lab and modeling studies, Stone enjoys working directly with students, calling them “a source of questions, insights, and continued learning.”

Abraham Lincoln founded the NAS and charged its members with providing objective advice to leaders on matters of science and technology. Of the responsibility that comes with membership, Stone said, “I hope to be able to serve on committees of the National Academies that lead to improved understanding of science, improved policies, and identification of future research needs.”

Stone received Chemical Engineering degrees from the University of California at Davis and Caltech. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge, Stone became the Vicky Joseph Professor of Engineering and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University, received the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Award and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching Prize, and was named a Harvard College Professor for his contributions to undergraduate education. In 2009, Stone became the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Other honors include the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, an American Physical Society (APS) Fellow, past Chair of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, the first recipient of the G.K. Batchelor Prize in Fluid Dynamics, and elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For ten years he served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and is on the editorial boards of New Journal of Physics and Physics of Fluids and the advisory board of Soft Matter.


The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.  An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research.  All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available.  The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP.  For more information, visit

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