Lance R. Collins

Lance Collins

Professor Emeritus
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Lance R. Collins finished serving his second term as the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering at Cornell University on July 31, 2020. He is now the  naugural vice president and executive director of Virginia Tech's new Innovation Campus. Under Dean Collins’ leadership, Cornell Engineering has maintained its rank as one of the top engineering colleges in the world. He was part of the leadership team that successfully bid to partner with New York City to build Cornell Tech, which opened its Roosevelt Island campus in 2017. He is leading one of the largest capital campaigns in the college’s history, aimed at renovating most engineering buildings to accommodate the college’s 10-year strategic plan for growth. Dean Collins has accelerated the college’s efforts to diversify its faculty and student body. Since 2007, Cornell Engineering more than doubled the proportion of underrepresented minority students from 7 to 19 percent. Over the same period, undergraduate female enrollment increased from 28 to 47 percent, more than twice the national average. And the Class of 2021 is the first in the college’s history to contain more women than men. For these efforts he received the inaugural Mosaic Medal of Distinction from Cornell Mosaic. He has also overseen a boom in entrepreneurship programming at Cornell Engineering with the establishment of many new programs and incubators built to foster commercialization and help bring new technologies from bench to market. Collins serves on Cornell’s Senior Leaders Climate Action Group, focused on improving climate trends by spurring cross-disciplinary solutions on campus and globally, including the ambitious Earth Source Heat project that aims to heat Cornell’s 745-acre campus with geothermal energy. Collins is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and his research is focused on the application of direct numerical simulation to a broad range of turbulent processes. He received his B.S. from Princeton University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mosaic Medal of Distinction Luncheon

The Mosaic Medal of Distinction recognizes alumni, faculty, and administrators for their commendable impact or leadership in creating opportunities and access for diverse communities within the academy, industry, public service, and the professions. This is the first year the medal is being awarded.

Research Interests

Professor Collins' research interests are on the application of direct numerical simulation to a broad range of turbulent processes. Areas of current interest include: (i) turbulent coagulation of aerosol particles; (ii) experimental and numerical evaluation of Lagrangian statistics in turbulent flows; (iii) mixing and chemical reaction in turbulent flames; (iv) turbulent breakup of microstructures (e.g., drops, polymers and red blood cells); (v) drag reduction due to polymer additives. A unifying theme is the importance of fine-­--scale (micro-­--turbulence) transport to these phenomena. A second focus is on developing a new class of turbulence models that are capable of describing micro-­--turbulence processes. Recent contributions have been made toward extending fundamental spectral theories of turbulence to applications (i) and (ii). Current emphasis is on validating the models and incorporating them into computational fluid dynamics codes.

Selected Publications

  • Devenish, B. J., P. Bartello, J.-L. Brenguier, Lance Collins, W. W. Grabowski, R.H. A. IJzermans, S. P. Malinowski, M. W. Reeks, J. C. Vassilicos, L. P. Wang, Z. Warhaft. 2012."Droplet growth in warm turbulent clouds."Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society138(667): 1401-1429.
  • Bragg, A D., P J. Ireland, L R Collins. 2016."Forward and backward in time dispersion of fluid and inertial particles in isotropic turbulence."Physics of Fluids28(013305).
  • Bragg, A D., P J. Ireland, L R Collins. 2015."On the relationship between the non-local clustering mechanism and preferential concentration." .
  • Ray, B., L R Collins. 2014."A subgrid model for clustering of high-inertia particles in large-eddy simulations of turbulence."Journal of Turbulence15(6): 366-385.
  • Bragg, A D., L R Collins. 2014."New insights from comparing statistical theories for inertial particles in turbulence: II. Relative velocities."New journal of physics  16.

See all Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Elected to the (National Academy of Engineering) 2021
  • Winner of the Inaugural Mosaic Medal of Distinction at Cornell University for amazing work in increasing diversity among the Engineering students that is well above the national average and providing an inclusive environment for our students.
  • Member-at-Large  (Division of Engineering & Physical Sciences  (Committee of the National Academies) 2011
  • Past-Chair  (United States National Committee on Theoretical & Applied Mechanics (Committee of National Academies) 2012
  • Chair  (United States National Committee on Theoretical & Applied Mechanics (Committee of National Academies) 2010
  • Executive Committee  (elected) (American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics) 2008
  • Fellow  (American Physical Society) 2007


  • B.S.E. (Chemical Engineering), Princeton University, 1981
  • M.S. (Chemical Engineering), University of Pennsylvania, 1983
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Pennsylvania, 1987

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