Prof Jason Reese

Regius Chair of Engineering





Personal Page: 

Research Institute: 

  • Multiscale Thermofluids

Research Theme: 

  • Non-continuum and non-equilibrium fluid mechanics
Jason Reese
Jason Reese


March 11th, 2019

We are deeply saddened to announce the recent and sudden passing of our Regius Professor, Jason Reese.

Professor Reese was a brilliant man, an inspiring teacher of engineering and a generous mentor to younger colleagues.

An internationally renowned researcher, Professor Reese was recently appointed to a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies, in recognition of his visionary work.

He is deeply missed by all in our School. Our thoughts are with his family.

Professor Reese’s Inaugural Regius Lecture (May 2018) is available at this link:

If you have a query about research, please contact Dr Matthew Borg by email:

For all other queries, please contact Prof. Mark Linne by email:

Obituary: Professor Jason Meredith Reese

24 June 1967 - 8 March 2019

The School’s Regius Professor of Engineering Jason Meredith Reese, who died suddenly at the early age of 51 on Friday 8 March, was an internationally renowned engineering scientist, respected academic and a valued mentor to many.

He made pioneering contributions to understanding the behaviour of gases and liquids at ultra-small length-scales, work which is now underpinning a broad range of key technologies for the 21st century.


Jason was born in Wimbledon, son of the late historian Dr Trevor Reese and of Hilary Reese (née Charker). He graduated in Physics from Imperial College in 1988 and completed doctoral research on shock waves in rarefied gases at the University of Oxford in 1993.

Following postdoctoral research in Berlin and Cambridge his first Lectureship was held at the University of Aberdeen from 1996 to 2000. Jason always spoke warmly of his time at Aberdeen and it was clearly influential in shaping his outlook and future career. Indeed, this experience sparked his affinity for Scotland to where he would return for the remainder of his career. 

Jason then spent two years at King’s College in London as a Lecturer and ExxonMobil Fellow before being appointed Weir Professor of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at the University of Strathclyde in 2003, a remarkable leap which marked a young and rapidly developing talent.

At the University of Strathclyde, Jason built a strong and internationally renowned research group, while also serving for a period as Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and founding the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. This was an extremely productive period of his career when he developed a range of novel computational methods to model new gas and liquid flows.

On moving back to Scotland, Jason made the city of Glasgow a home with his wife Alex and their daughter Zoe who was born in 2007. He developed a great love for Scottish culture and enjoyed annual excursions to the Western Isles.

Regius Chair at Edinburgh

Following ten years at the University of Strathclyde, Jason was appointed as the ninth incumbent of the Regius Chair of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 2013, where he also served as the Director of Research in the School of Engineering.

During his time at the School, Jason continued to develop his research vision and was appointed Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies last year. The Chair was a platform for the translation of his work on engineering science into an integrated set of tools for the design and development of key technologies for the 21st century.

Pioneering research

Jason’s research has delivered a new understanding of how matter can be engineered at ultra-small length-scales. In particular, his insights into the unusual behaviour of gases and liquids at such length-scales are helping engineers develop a diverse range of technologies including ultra-efficient water filtration systems using carbon nanotubes, nano-structured surface coatings for drag reduction on ships, spacecraft hypersonic re-entry systems, and lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostics.

His research was recognised through an array of prestigious awards and prizes, including Fellowships of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Physics, and the American Physical Society. He was recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh Bruce-Preller Prize Lecture and the Royal Society of Edinburgh Lord Kelvin Medal and Lecture.

Public engagement

In addition to his academic work, Jason co-founded Brinker Technology Ltd in 2002, a spin-off from research at the University of Aberdeen, which won the Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2012. He also contributed through advisory roles, including periods as a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council and the Cabinet Office Science and Technology Honours Committee, and he strongly supported the work of the Learned Societies of which he was a Fellow.

Jason travelled widely, holding visiting positions at Oxford, Cambridge and Johns Hopkins University during his career. In 2016, he was named an Honorary Professor of Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Personal impact

Jason had a natural warmth and good humour, which helped cement his many collaborations and international links. Indeed, he was meticulous in offering congratulations to colleagues and celebrating the success of others. This was evident through the lively social events he hosted for his research group and other colleagues.

Although Jason was a busy and highly successful academic, he was generous of his time and energy in supporting many younger colleagues. It is testament to his mentoring that so many of his former students have gone on to lead successful careers in both academia and industry.


Jason has gifted the engineering profession a wealth of new ideas, methodologies and design tools, a legacy whose impact will reverberate long into the future. 

Through his public lectures, Jason was able to articulate the complexities of fluid dynamics to a lay audience, while communicating the importance of engineering as a discipline and his personal optimism for the future.  This was particularly evident at his inspiring inaugural lecture as Regius Professor in 2018, exactly 150 years since the first incumbent of the Regius Chair had been appointed.

Jason’s final professional engagement shortly before his untimely death was participation in a meeting of the cohort of Royal Academy of Engineering Chairs in Emerging Technology at the University of Edinburgh. There he was surrounded by many friends and colleagues and presented his latest ideas and research vision with his customary intellectual rigour and enthusiasm.

He will be sorely missed by many as a friend, colleague and mentor. Jason is survived by his wife, the historian Professor Alexandra Shepard and their daughter Zoe.

Academic Qualifications: 

  • 1993 Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Applied Mathematics, University of Oxford
  • 1989 Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Analysis, University of Oxford
  • 1988 Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons) in Physics, Imperial College London

Professional Qualifications and Memberships: 

  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, FREng
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, FRSE
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics, FInstP
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, FIMechE
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, APS Fellow
  • Chartered Engineer, CEng

Research Interests: 

Jason's work focused on multi-scale fluids engineering systems: nano- and microfluidics, interfacial and other non-continuum flows, high-speed (rarefied) aerodynamics, and rapid granular/gas flows.

The engineering of flow systems across great length- and time-scales will play an important role in meeting societal challenges over the next 30 years; for example, nano-filtering seawater to make it drinkable for water-stressed populations, and embedding micro and nano devices in aeroplane and ship surfaces to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Multi-scale and multi-physics dynamics is characteristic of these areas of emerging technological importance, but affects the overall behaviour of the fluid flows in poorly-understood ways. This makes their simulation, design and control extremely difficult. The dynamics of the constituent fluid particles or molecules is key to understanding the overall flow behaviour.

He was investigating new ways of modelling and simulating these flows from both molecular and hydrodynamic viewpoints. In particular, developing theoretical insight into the underlying non-continuum physics, and numerical simulation tools ranging from compressible fluid codes running extended hydrodynamic models through to highly-parallel molecular dynamics and DSMC codes. He was also developing new kinds of hybrid software that combine particle and hydrodynamic solvers under one methodology.

All of these numerical tools are released open-source to work within the OpenFOAM code (

Specific research included:

  1. designs for aligned-nanotube membranes for water purification and gas separation
  2. insight into water interactions with moving surfaces, applicable to drag reduction coatings
  3. exploiting scale separation in time and space to enable efficient hybrid computations
  4. the effect of molecular mean free path variation near a surface on gas micro flows
  5. near-surface rarefaction and molecular adsorption effects on gas micro flows
  6. high-order diffusive mechanisms in gas kinetic theory
  7. using particle and molecular methods to probe flows of engineering importance

Multi-scale and multi-physics dynamics is one of the grand challenges in science and engineering for the 21st century, which means the research is long-term, complex and diverse. While there is much work still to be done, the research results to date show the promise of the approaches used in accurately capturing the behaviour of non-continuum and non-equilibrium flows in complex geometries in a range of applications.

If you have a query about this research then please contact Dr Matthew Borg by email:

Further Information: 

  • 2018 Chair in Emerging Technologies, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • 2015 Lord Kelvin Medal (Senior Prize in Physical Sciences), Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 2015 Visiting Professor, Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • 2014 Visiting Research Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Strathclyde University
  • 2006 Finalist, MacRobert Award for Innovation in Engineering, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • 2004 36th Bruce-Preller Prize Lecturer, Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 2003 Philip Leverhulme Prize for Engineering, Leverhulme Trust
  • 2000 ExxonMobil Engineering Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering