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Carl O. Thomas

Carl Thomas

Carl O. Thomas

Professor Emeritus

Contact Information

Carl Thomas

  • Office Address: 419 Dougherty Engineering Building
  • Phone: 865-974-2421


PhD (Chemistry), University of Tennessee: Methods for the separation of hydrogen isotopes.


Carl Thomas

Carl Thomas earned his AB in Mathematics from Howard College in 1947 and an MA in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1949. He then returned to active Navy duty during the Korean War, working on guidance methods for surface-to-air missiles. Following that he joined the research staff of the Southern Research Institute, working on detection methods for biological warfare agents. He earned a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee (UT) in 1957. His dissertation dealt with methods for the separation of hydrogen isotopes. He then joined the Bell Telephone Labs as a senior member of the research staff. His work there concentrated on thin film semiconductor materials technology and epitaxial transistor development.

From there he went as a visiting faculty member to the Technical University of Denmark for a year, and then returned to the UT as Associate Dean of the Graduate School.  He left UT for five years to found the Environmental Systems Corporation in Knoxville, and then for one year was a staff member of the Institute for Energy Analysis in Oak Ridge. He then returned to the UT as Dean for Research. After that, he moved to the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 1995 Outstanding Teacher Award, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • 1985-86  Outstanding Teacher Award, Society of Black Engineers
  • 1964  Bronze Medal, University of Liege, Belgium
  • 1964  Miedzynarodowy rok Korczakowski Medal, Poland
  • 1960  Silver Medal, American Electroplater’s Society

Professional Service

  • US Navy, Surface to air guided missile technology
  • Materials technology for epitaxial thin film transistors
  • Fulbright Lecturer, University of Liege, Belgium; Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw & Wroclaw; University of Aarhus, Denmark; Institute for Theoretical Physics, Copenhagen
  • Director, Project for the Reclamation of Lake Managua, Managua, Nicaragua
  • Program Director {for National Academy of Sciences} for technical and economic development planning, Costa Rica
  • Committee on Energy Resources for the Amazon, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
  • Consultant to U.S. Senate Committees for Commerce and for Interior and Insular Affairs
  • Founder and President, Environmental Systems Corporation, Knoxville


Carl Thomas


  • Thomas, Carl O., “Airborne Remote Sensing Techniques for Oceanographic Data Acquisition,” Geologic Notes, South Carolina Division of Geology, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Fall, 1984).
  • Thomas, Carl O., “Alaskan Methanol Concept,” US Senate Commerce Committee and US Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, (March, 1976).
  • Thomas, Carl O., “Airborne Sensing for Landfill Site Evaluation,” Pollution Engineering 32-33, (November/December 1971).
  • Thomas, Carl O., “The Future of the Cultural Arts in Appalachia,” Public Affairs Series, No. 6, West Virginia Center for Appalachian Studies and Development, Morgantown, West Virginia (1967).
  • Thomas, Carl O., Alstrup, Ole., “Kinetics of the Silicon-Silicontetrachloride Reaction in a Flow System,” J. Electrochem. Soc.  112 319 (1965).
  • Thomas, Carl O., Baker, B. B., “Detection and Estimation of Air-Borne Proteins by Pyrolysis to Hydrogen Cyanide,” Analy. Chem. 31 1391-93 (1958).
  • Koski, W. S., Thomas, Carl O., “Scintillatiions in the Diphenylpolyenes and Related Compounds,” J. Chem. Phys. 19 1286-90 (1951).