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Miles (John) Papers
MSS 0453  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: John Miles Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0453
    Physical Description: 4.2 Linear feet (11 archives boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1943-1998
    Abstract: Papers of John Miles, fluid mechanics engineer, geophysicist, and educator from 1964-2003. Miles is known for research of wave propagation and generation, hydrodynamic stability, and fluid dynamics. The papers include over three hundred published scientific articles, fluid mechanics reports, and research files. Additionally, the papers include correspondence, grant proposals, UCLA teaching materials, and biographical materials.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of John Miles illustrate his academic and scientific career in the field of fluid dynamics and engineering. The majority of the materials are published reprints dating from 1943-1998. The papers also contain correspondence, reports, subject based research and grant proposals, UCLA teaching materials, biographical materials. Arranged in six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS BY MILES, 3) RESEARCH, 4) UCLA TEACHING MATERIALS, 5) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, and 6) UC and UCSD SUBJECT FILES.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series contains correspondence, arranged alphabetically, between Miles and colleagues and various persons in the scientific community.
    The WRITINGS series includes four subseries: A) Numbered Reprints, B) Unnumbered Writings, C) Reports, and D) Lectures.
    A) The Numbered Reprints subseries includes numerically arranged reprints dating from 1943-1998.
    B) The Unnumbered Reprints subseries contains both published and unpublished manuscripts and reprints not listed with the numbered reprints. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by title.
    C) The Reports are technical publications authored by Miles beginning with his tenure at University of California, Los Angeles, through 1964. The reports are project analyses for private contract research Miles conducted for aeromechanics industries including Ramo-Wooldrige Corporation, Space Technologies Laboratories, and Northrop Aircraft, Inc. They are arranged by date.
    D) The Lectures subseries contains typescripts of lectures dated 1947-1969 and are arranged chronologically.
    The RESEARCH series is arranged in two subseries: A) Subject Files and B) Grants.
    A) The Subject Files, arranged alphabetically, includes source material related to Miles' research. The papers contain research notes, calculations, and data.
    B) The Grants files represent the proposals for the National Science Foundation grant for the Support of Atmospheric Research Laboratory in Los Angeles and San Diego. Miles participated as a faculty associate at the La Jolla laboratories of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, from 1964 to 1969. The materials are arranged chronologically and contain correspondence and reports.
    In 1945, Miles was an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in the department of engineering and in the physics department in 1947, teaching courses in engineering dynamics and fluid mechanics. The papers contain course material for engineering dynamics and linear systems classes including exams, notes, course outlines, and reports.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, includes conference materials, Guggenheim fellowship correspondence, professional dossiers, and a state of California professional engineering certificate.
    The final series, UC & UCSD SUBJECT FILES, contains materials related to University history. Miles' original file titles were retained and the files are arranged alphabetically by these titles. One file relates to the loyalty oath controversy, which took place across the University of California system. Other files relate to UCSD specifically, including detailing the history of the Institute for Nonlinear Studies and the Institute of Geophysics. While several subject files include a wide variety of materials - from memos and correspondence to newspapers clippings - the folder labeled "Student demonstrations" contains only two memos and one faculty statement about demonstrations at UCSD.


    John Wilder Miles was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 1, 1920. After graduating from high school in Oakland, CA, Miles entered Cal Tech and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1942, a master's degree in electrical and aeronautical engineering in 1943, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1944.
    During the World War II, he held brief positions at General Electric, Lockheed Aircraft, and the MIT Radiation Laboratory. His work at MIT supported research used for radar detection of German U-Boats off the coast of England. In 1945, Miles accepted a teaching position with the University of California, Los Angeles, in the geophysics and engineering departments until 1964. During this time, he became a consultant to several aeromechanics companies and institutions including the United States Air Force, Space Technology Laboratories, and Northrop Aircraft, Incorporated. In 1962, he was a visiting professor of applied mathematics at the Australian National University, Institute of Advanced Studies.
    One of the prominent projects Miles co-investigated was a grant project funded by the National Science Foundation. The University of California established the primary branches of the laboratory at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) in Los Angeles and La Jolla in 1960. Miles, along with Walter Munk, George MacDonald, and George Backus, concentrated on geophysical fluid dynamics in both the ocean and the atmosphere.
    In 1964, Miles moved to the newly formed UCSD campus in La Jolla, taking a position as professor of applied mechanics and geophysics, where he was also chairman of the Academic Senate, 1977-1978. He also became the associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics in 1964, providing editorial and peer review scholarship. He was appointed vice chancellor of academic affairs, under Chancellor Richard Atkinson from 1980-1983.
    Miles was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1958-1959, a Fulbright lectureship from the University of Australia in 1951, and the Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering in 1982.
    In 2003, Miles retired as professor emeritus from UCSD. He passed away in October, 2008.
    References cited:
    Of Fluid Mechanics and Related Matters: The Proceedings of a Symposium Honoring John Miles on His Seventieth Birthday, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, December 1, 1990.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    John Miles Papers, MSS 453. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2001.



    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Engineers -- Biography
    Fluid mechanics
    University of California, San Diego. Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics