Sidney Leibovich

Sidney Leibovich

Professor Emeritus
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Upson Hall 310
Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus


Professor Leibovich joined the Cornell faculty after a year as a NATO postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the University of London. At Cornell, he is a member of the graduate Fields of Aerospace Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Atmospheric Sciences,Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and Mechanical Engineering. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Professor Leibovich is a member of the editorial board of Acta Mechanica. He previously served as general editor of the Cambridge University Press Monographs on Mechanics; as co-editor of Acta Mechanica; and as associate editor for the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, the Journal of Applied Mechanics, and the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics; and as a member of the editorial board of the Annual Reviews of Fluid Mechanics. He has been Chair of the U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Chair of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, and Chair of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics.

Research Interests

My research focus has been on concentrated vortex flows, their transition via the phenomenon of vortex breakdown, and phenomenology underlying breakdown including hydrodynamic stability theory and nonlinear wave propagation. Another area of great interest to me has been the stability of the upper ocean and the vertical mixing of momentum, heat, and matter by Langmuir circulations, a motion caused by interaction of the surface waves and shear in the water column.

Teaching Interests

Professor Leibovich works on problems in fluid mechanics of highly vortical flows and geophysical flows. These flows typically involve processes of instability and transition, or wave propagation.

Selected Publications

  • Chini, G. P., Sidney Leibovich.  2005. "Resonant Langmuir-circulation-internal-wave interaction. Part 2. Langmuir circulation instability."  Journal of Fluid Mechanics 524: 99-120.
  • Chini, G. P., S. Leibovich.  2003. "Resonant Langmuir-circulation-internal-wave interaction. Part 1. Internal wave reflection."  Journal of Fluid Mechanics 495: 35-55.
  • Chini, G. P., S. Leibovich.  2003. "An analysis of the Klemp and Durran radiation boundary condition as applied to dissipative internal waves."  Journal of Physical Oceanography 33 (11): 2394-2407.
  • Haeusser, T. M., S. Leibovich.  2003. "Pattern formation in the marginally unstable Ekman layer."  Journal of Fluid Mechanics 479: 125-144.
  • Bhaskaran, R., S. Leibovich.  2002. "Eulerian and Lagrangian Langmuir circulation patterns."  Physics of Fluids 14 (7): 2557-2571.

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Selected Awards and Honors

  • AAAS Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2018
  • Distinguished Lecturer (Ohio Aerospace Institute) 1994
  • Member (National Academy of Engineering) 1993
  • Fellow (American Academy of Arts & Sciences) 1992
  • Fellow (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) 1985
  • Outstanding Teacher (Cornell University College of Engineering) 1985


  • B.S. (Engineering), California Institute of Technology, 1961
  • Ph.D. (Theoretical and Applied Mechanics), Cornell University, 1965