picture:: Carlos F. M. Coimbra

Carlos F. M. Coimbra

Ph.D. 1998 – Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Carlos F.M. Coimbra is the John Dove Isaacs Endowed Chair in Natural Philosophy and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego. Coimbra first visited Orange County in the summer of 1994 when UCI hosted the 25th Symposium (International) on Combustion. About a year later, he returned to UCI for his doctoral studies under the expert guidance of Roger Rangel.

A proud Anteater, Coimbra credits much of his career success to the graduate experience he had at UCI. As one example out of many, the first course Rangel advised him to take in the fall of 1995 was MAE 224 – Convective Mass Transfer, offered by the late Don Edwards. This course introduced him to the then newly released first edition of Heat and Mass Transfer by Anthony Mills (UCLA). The course started a lifelong fascination with heat and mass transfer applications, particularly with respect to atmospheric processes. At the end of that fall quarter, Edwards offered to teach radiation heat transfer individually to Coimbra in what became a year-long, one-to-one course based on his Radiation Heat Transfer Notes textbook and many other research papers. This unique academic experience, available exclusively at UCI and made possible only due to Edwards’ personal commitment and generosity, influenced much of Coimbra’s recent research on atmospheric radiation. Coimbra received his doctorate from MAE at UCI in 1998, and after three faculty appointments spanning six time zones in the US, joined the faculty of the MAE department at UC San Diego in 2011. In 2014, Mills invited Coimbra to co-author the 3rd Edition of the Heat and Mass Transfer collection. This collection is now the largest compendium of thermal engineering in print, spreading over four books with over 1,300 pages of nonoverlapping content, and it is used in many of the best programs in the U.S. and in Europe.

Coimbra was elected chair of the MAE department at UC San Diego in 2017. His research interests cover a wide range of topics related to energy and climate, planetary-scale heat transfer, solar forecasting, atmospheric radiation, multiphase flows and variable order methods. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which is published by the American Institute of Physics. He is also a life member of the American Geophysical Union and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Throughout his career, Coimbra has received a number of best paper awards, both for conference and journal paper contributions, as well as multiple graduate mentorship awards. He credits these professional recognitions to the mentorship he received at UCI.

Coimbra has been a motorcycle enthusiast for over 40 years. He lives with his wife, Kaori, in Carmel Valley (North County San Diego). They enjoy motorcycle riding, walking, swimming and snorkeling together. They have two daughters, Miya and Kaila, both mechanical engineers who are pursuing doctoral degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Dinner conversations are interesting.