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John Lienhard

Contact Info

room 3-166

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Masachusetts 02139


  • 1982

    UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, Dept. Chemical, Nuclear, and Thermal Engineering

    BS in Thermal Engineering
  • 1984

    UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, Dept. Chemical, Nuclear, and Thermal Engineering

    MS, Heat and Mass Transfer
  • 1988

    UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO, Dept. Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences

    PhD, Fluid Dynamics

Research Interests

The activities of our research group are in the broad area of heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. Our focus is on technologies for desalination of seawater and brackish water, remediation of various waste waters, and recycling of water, with increased energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact as core objectives. This work includes thermodynamic cycle analysis, transport processes in components, solar-energy driven systems, and both thermal and membrane separations.

Past activities in our lab have included thermal management of electronics, high heat flux engineering, thermal stress and deformation, thermal manufacturing processes, liquid jet impingement cooling, instrumentation, thermally stratified turbulent flow, and thermally driven instabilities.

Honors + Awards

Selected Examples

  • 2015, ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award
  • 2014, Abdul Latif Jameel Chaired Professorship
  • 2012, ASME Technical Communities Globalization Medal
  • 2011-2015, Eight best paper, poster, or presentation awards to our group for desalination research
  • 2008-2014, Samuel C. Collins Chaired Professorship
  • 2003, Den Hartog Distinguished Educator Award, MIT
  • 2000, Fellow of ASME
  • 1999, Carl R. Soderberg Distinguished Service Award, MIT
  • 1997, R&D 100 Award
  • 1994, Graduate Student Council Teaching Award, MIT
  • 1993, Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award, MIT School of Engineering
  • 1992, Ralph R. Teetor Award, Society of Automotive Engineers
  • 1991, Best Paper Award, 26th ASME/AIChE National Heat Transfer Conference
  • 1988-1991, Hatsopolous Professor
  • 1988, Presidential Young Investigator Award, US National Science Foundation


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • International Desalination Association
  • Registered Professional Engineer (Mechanical), Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Scientific Council of the International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer
  • Tau Beta Pi

Professional Service

Selected Examples

  • Editorial Board, Desalination: October 2011-March 2015
  • Editorial Board, Frontiers in Heat and Mass Transfer: April 2010-present
  • Editorial Board, Desalination and Water Treatment: January 2009-present
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Heat Transfer: 2003 - 2006
  • Editorial Board, Acta Mechanica: 2003 - 2011
  • Editorial Board, Experimental Heat Transfer: March 1995 - present
  • State Implementation Plan Steering Cmt. for Air Quality, Massachusetts DEP: August 1994 - present (Air quality)

MIT Service

Selected Examples (from more than 90 items)

  • Director, Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Laboratory, May 2014-present (J-WAFS)
  • Director, Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM, June 2008-present (CCWCE)
  • Associate Department Head (Education), Department of Mechanical Engineering: July 2008-April 2012
  • Undergraduate Officer, Department of Mechanical Engineering: July 2005 - April 2012
  • ABET Accreditation Coordinator of ME Department: July 2005 - June 2008
  • Head, Division of Fluids, Energy, and Transport: August 2001 - July 2005 
  • Chairman, ME Faculty Hiring Committee: August 2001 - July 2005
  • Chairman, ME Strategic Planning Committee: September 1997 - July 2000
  • Director, Rohsenow Kendall Heat Transfer Laboratory: July 1997 - present (RK Lab)
  • Joined MIT Faculty: January 1988



See Publications list