William O. Criminale

Professor Emeritus
Professor Emeritus
Joint with Geophysics and Oceanography

Lewis Hall 125


Professor Criminale completed his baccalaureate degree at the University of Alabama in 1955. He received his doctorate at the Johns Hopkins University in 1960. His research focuses on the areas of initial-value problems in shear flows, large-scale oscillations in turbulent flows, mixing, and nonlinear mechanics. Professor Criminale is supported in his research by several agencies. Professor Criminale is the recipient of many honors which include: the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award; Fellow, American Physical Society; Guest Scientist, Stanford-Ames Turbulence Research Center; the Faculty Research Award, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories; and a Royal Society Fellow in the United Kingdom. He has also been a guest professor in Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Sweden.

Curriculum vitae

Research Interests

Problems dealing with the breakdown of laminar flows and transition to turbulence. Particle dynamics, mixing, and flow control are topics being investigated using methods developed in the fields of stability and turbulence. Prototypical flows range from channel flows and boundary layers to those encountered in a stratified geophysical environment. Nonlinear mechanics.


Steady Shear Flow of Non-Newtonian Fluids, (with J.L. Erickson and G.L. Filbey, Jr.), Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis, 1 (5): 410-417, 1958.

The Growth of Localized Disturbances in a Laminar Boundary Layer, (with L.S.G. Kovsasznay), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 14 (1): 59-80, 1962.

Oscillations of a Turbulent Flow, (with R. Betchov), Physics of Fluids, 7 (12): 1920-1926, 1964.

The Stability of Time-Dependent Laminar Flow: Parallel Flows, (with P.W. Conrad), Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Physik, 16 (2): 233-254, 1965.

An Extended Use of the Hydrogen Bubble Flow Visualization Method, (with R.W. Nowell), AIAA Journal, 3 (6): 1203, 1965.

The Stability of Time-Dependent Laminar Flow: Flow with Curved Streamlines, (with P.W. Conrad), Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Physik, 16 (5): 569-582, 1965.

Spatial Instability of the Inviscid Jet and Wake, (with R. Betchov), Physics of Fluids, 9 (2): 359-362, 1966.

Interaction of the Laminar Boundary Layer with Free-Stream Turbulence, Physics of Fluids, Supplement, 10: 101-107, 1967.

Disturbance Characteristics in a Plane Jet, (with G.E. Mattingly, Jr.), Physics of Fluids, 14 (11): 2258-2264, 1971.

Stability of an Incompressible Two-Dimensional Symmetric Wake, (with G.E. Mattingly, Jr.), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 51 (2): 233-272, 1972.

The Stability of Steady-State Distribution of Marine Phytoplankton, (with D.F. Winter), American Naturalist, 180 (963): 679-687, 1974.

On the Asymptotic Structure of Turbulent Transfer Coefficients, Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik, 55: 291-299, 1975.

Wave Breakdown in Stratified Shear Flows, (with M.T. Landahl), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 79 (3): 481-497, 1977.

Effects of Mean Current and Shear on Stability of Depth Distribution of Marine Phytoplankton, Journal of Mathematical Biology, 10: 33-51, 1980.

Maintenance of Oscillations in the Turbulent Ekman Layer (with G.F. Spooner), Boundary Layer Meteorology, 21: 407-421, 1981.

The Evolution of Disturbances in the Ekman Boundary Layer (with G.F. Spooner), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 115: 327-346, 1981.

Optimum Expulsion of Brine from Ice (with M.P. Lelong), Journal of Geophysical Research, 89, 3581-3585, 1984.

Instabilities in a Rotating Fluid with Constant Shear, Journal of Geophysical Research, 90, 862-868, 1985.

Effects of Diffusion in the Asymptotics of Perturbations in Stratified Shear Flow (with J.Q. Cordova), Physics of Fluids, 29 (7), 2054-2060, 1986.

Evolution of Wavelike Disturbances in Shear Flows: A Class of Exact Solutions of the Navier-Stokes Equations (with A.D.D. Craik), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A 406, 13-26, 1986.

The Evolution of Linearized Perturbations of Parallel Flows (with P.G. Drazin), Studies in Applied Mathematics, 83: 123-157, 1990.

General Three-Dimensional Disturbances to Inviscid Couette Flow (with B. Long and M. Zhu), Studies in Applied Mathematics, 85: 249-267, 1991.

The Electric Doorbell as a Nonlinear Oscillator (with T. Mar), SIAM Review, 33, 644-649, 1991.

Fundamental Solutions in Perturbed Shear Flow (with F.I.P. Smith), Fluid Dynamics Research, 13, 167-195, 1994.

Evolution of Disturbances in Stagnation Point Flow (with T.L. Jackson and D.G. Lasseigne), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 270: 331-347, 1994.

Early Period Dynamics of an Incompressible Mixing Layer (with Y. Bun), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 273: 31-82, 1994.

Towards Enhancement and Suppression of Disturbunces in Free Shear Flows (with T.L. Jackson and D.G. Lasseigne), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 294: 283-300, 1995.

Vortex Perturbation Dynamics (with D.G. Lasseigne and T.L. Jackson), Studies in Applied Mathematics, 98: 99-120, 1997.

Perturbation Dynamics in Viscous Channel Flows (with T.L. Jackson, D.G. Lasseigne, and R.D. Joslin), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 339: 55-75, 1997.

The Transient Period for Boundary Layer Disturbances (with D.G. Lasseigne, T.L. Jackson and R.D. Joslin), Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 381: 89-119, 1999.

The Initial-Value Problem for a Modelled Boundary Layer (with P.G. Drazin), Physics of Fluids, A12, 366-374, 2000.

Limit Cycle-Strange Attractor Competition (with T.L. Jackson & P.N. Nelson), Studies in Applied Mathematics, 112:133-160, 2004.

An Exploratory Analysis of the Transient and Long-Term Behavior of Small Three-Dimensional Perturbations in the Circular Cylinder Wake (with S. Scarsoglio & D. Tordella), Studies in Applied Mathematics, 123:153-173, 2009.

The Role of Long Waves in the Stability of the Plane Wake (with S. Scarsoglio & D. Tordella), Physical Review E, 81, No. 3, 2010

Proceedings and Chapters

Three-Dimensional Laminar Instability, AGARD Report No. 266, 1960.

Spatial Instability in Laminar Flow, Lecture Series 3, Part 6, AGARD VKI Lecture Series on Mechanics of Boundary Layer Transition, 1968.

Structure of the Laminar Boundary Layer in the Presence of a Fluctuating Free Stream, Proc. of IUTAM Symposium on Unsteady Boundary Layers, Laval University, Québec, Canada, 1971.

On Breaking of Internal Gravity Waves, International Symposium of Stratified Flows, American Society of Civil Engineers, Novosibirsk, USSR: 175-192, 1972.

Linear Stability Theory for Laminar Boundary Layers: A Review and Assessment of the Art, EUROMECH 46 Symp. on Numerical and Experimental Investigations of the Stability of Boundary Layers, Oberwolfach, Germany, 1974.

Mass Driven Fluctuations Within the Ekman Boundary Layer, Bottom Turbulence, Elsevier Oceanography Series 19, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., New York: 165-186, 1977.

Understanding the Origin of Coherent Structure, Transport Phenomena in Turbulent Flows, Hemisphere Publishing Corp., 131-144, 1988.

Initial-Value Problems and Stability in Shear Flows, International Symposium on Nonlinear Problems in Engineering and Science, Beijing, China, 43-63, 1991.

An Alternative Approach to Disturbances in Boundary Layers (with P.F. Easthope), Studies in Turbulence, Springer-Verlag, 582-602, 1992.

Receptivity and Bypass Dynamics, (with D.G. Lasseigne, R.D. Joslin, T.L. Jackson), Laminar Turbulent Transition, Springer-Verlag, 2000.

Flow Stability and Transition, Proceedings of the 10th Brazilian Congress on Thermal Sciences and Engineering, Paper CIT04-1L12, 2004.


Stability of Parallel Flows, (with R. Betchov), Volume 10 of the International Series of Monographs on Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (ed. F.N. Frenkiel and G. Temple), Academic Press, Inc., September 1967. Translated into Russian, 1971. (O.F. Vasiliev, ed.)

Theory and Computation in Hydrodynamic Stability, (with T.L. Jackson and R.D. Joslin), Cambridge Monographs on Mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 2003.