Dimos Poulikakos
Mechanical Engineering
Research & Invention

Dimos Poulikakos is the founder and director of the Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies and head of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).

Professor Poulikakos joined ETH Zurich in 1996, after being on the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for 12 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1999 to 2001, he was head of the Institute of Energy Technology at ETH, and from 2001 to 2003, he was associate head of research in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. He served as vice president of research for ETH Zurich from 2005 to 2007, and was named head of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering in 2011.

His current research is in the area of interfacial and transport phenomena, in particular heat transfer, thermodynamics, and related fluid dynamics in emerging technologies focusing on the physics at micro- and nano-scales, energy conversion, and transport phenomena in medical applications.

His research has had profound impact, incorporating heat transfer and transport phenomena into areas such as applied physics, chemical engineering, and energy conversion. His work often bridges the gap between nano-scale and continuum phenomena, enabling a rejuvenation of engineering thinking and giving impetus to the development of novel technologies. For example, a joint effort with IBM to create the world’s first water-cooled petaflop supercomputer with energy reuse, aiming at an 85 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, paved the way for zero emission data centers.

He currently has some 20 externally funded doctoral students and eight post-doctoral research scientists in his laboratory. He has published nearly 300 research articles in peer-reviewed journals in areas such as heat transfer, related fluid dynamics, nanotechnology, applied physics, chemical engineering, and energy.

He has been recognized with many awards for his career contributions, including the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award for Science; the Nusselt-Reynolds Prize sponsored by the Assembly of World Conferences on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics; and the ASME-AIChE Max Jacob Memorial Award.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1978, and his master’s and PhD in mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1980 and 1983, respectively.

He lives in Zollikon, Switzerland, with his wife, Lily, who is also a CU graduate.