Charles R. Thomas, Ph.D.

Charles R. Thomas
Charles R. Thomas, Ph.D.Professor of Engineering

Contact Information

(401) 254-3259cthomas@rwu.eduSE 117Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Acoustics, Fluid Mechanics, Engineering Education, Mechanical Measurements


1998 B.S. Physics, University of Rochester; 2003 M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Boston University; 2004 Ph.D Mechanical Engineering, Boston University

Charles Thomas joined the SECCM faculty in Fall of 2005, after completing a year-long postdoctoral fellowship at Boston University whose focus was in the role of bubbles in High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound.  He earned his Ph.D. (2004) and M.S. (2003) degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Boston University as well.  He earned a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Rochester, in 1998.

Dr. Thomas’ thesis work focused on studying the effects of ambient (i.e. gravitational) acceleration on Single Bubble Sonoluminescence.  This work included the exciting opportunity to fly aboard the NASA’s weightless wonder.

While at RWU, his main research activity has been an exciting collaboration with Dr. Dale Leavitt (RWU, Marine Biology), focusing on aquaculture.  They have worked, with a number of students, on an EPA-funded project to convert a fossil fuel-powered fish grow-out facility to a solar-powered facility.

At Roger Williams, he teaches ENGR110 - Engineering Graphics and Design, ENGR305 – Fluid Mechanics and Lab, ENGR350 – Theory and Design for Mechanical Measurements, as well as SUST301 – Analysis and Decision-Making for Sustainability.

"In their early careers, both of my parents were teachers, so you might say teaching is in my blood.  When I finished graduate school, I wanted to find an engineering program where the focus was on educating undergraduate engineering students, so I was excited to see the job opening at RWU in 2005.  I have enjoyed teaching a variety of courses here, as well as mentoring students in senior capstone design projects.  I was honored to be awarded the RWU Excellent in Teaching Award in May of 2015, to be recognized as the RWU student senate teacher of the semester a few times, and during our time teaching courses to both an in-person audience and online audience, as a “hybrid hero.”

When I am not teaching, I enjoy playing the French Horn.  This hobby led me to pursue the study of acoustics in graduate school – a combination of my interest in physics and music.  In graduate school my main effort was a study of single-bubble sonoluminescence which included field research on the NASA aptly-name “Vomit Comet.” After I finished my graduate studies, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship researching the role of cavitation in high-intensity focused ultrasound.  Both projects were experimental in nature – using observation with measurement equipment to understand the phenomena.  Careful measurement of systems has stuck with me, as I suspect students in my courses can recognize since all my courses include hands-on measurement activities.

There are many aspects that make being a faculty member in the engineering program at RWU truly rewarding, but my favorite is working with students, and seeing their transformation from first-year student to graduating senior – it is this that makes me tick!"