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Tulane University
Mechanical Engineering Dept.
Thermal science


Robert G. (Bob) Watts is the Cornelia and Arthur L. Jung Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tulane University. He enrolled at Tulane University 1955 intending to study architecture. He mistakenly got in the wrong line at registration and, not being one to patiently stand in long lines, he became a mechanical engineering student, a kind of Forrest Gumpian fortunate accident. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane in 1959. In 1960, he received an M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1965. In 1969 he accepted a National Science Foundation Senior Post Doctoral Fellowship to study high temperature physics at Harvard University, but Dr. Richard Goody, with whom he intended to study, left the university that year. Left with an office among atmospheric scientists and oceanographers, he became interested in meteorology and oceanography, and did research in these areas for several years. In 1976 he was invited to spend a year at the Institute for Energy Analysis in Oak Ridge, where he became interested in paleoclimatology and in the problem of global warming. He has served as a visiting scientist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, the Institute for Energy Analysis in Oak Ridge and Batelle Northwest Laboratories in DC. He is the originator and past director of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change, South Central Region at Tulane University. He has been a member of the ASME Committee on Environmental Heat Transfer since 1975 and is a frequent contributor to the Journal of Geophysical Research and to Climatic Change as well as the engineering literature. His current research interests are in the human response to environmental risk and in carbon-free global energy supply. He is a former semi-pro baseball player and is the author of Keep Your Eye on the Ball: The Science and Folklore of Baseball and is the editor of Engineering Response to Global Climate Change and the forthcoming Innovative Engineering Solutions to Global Warming. He lives in the most interesting city in North America, New Orleans, with his wife and three children and grandchildren.