Yannis C. Yortsos

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Yannis C. Yortsos
USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C Yortsos.jpeg
Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Assumed office

Yannis C. Yortsos is the Dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.[1] Since June 2005, he has served as Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and has held the Zohrab A. Kaprielian Chair in Engineering. He has also held the Chester F. Dolley Chair since January 1995. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February 2008, where he has also served as secretary, vice-chair and chair of Section 11, and as the NAE Section 11 liaison to the National Research Council. Since July 2017, Yortsos serves as a member of the NAE Council.

In 2011 he was awarded the distinction of honorary member of the AIME and of the SPE, in 2013 he was elected as Associate member of the Academy of Athens, in 2014 he received the Ellis Medal of Honor and since 2017 he holds an honorary degree from Tsinghua University.


Yortsos received a B.Sc. degree from the National Technical University, Athens, Greece, in 1973, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology, in 1974 and 1979, respectively, all in chemical engineering. He joined USC in 1979 as an assistant professor in petroleum and chemical engineering and was promoted to the ranks of associate professor and full professor in 1984 and 1990, respectively.

His professional experience includes invited professor appointments at the Universite Paris, Orsay, France, in 1997, 1999 and 2001; and at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France, in 1990, 1997 and in 1999; associate researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France; visiting professor in the departments of chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology in 2001, and at Stanford University in 1986; and visiting professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Clarkson University in 1986. In addition, he held student summer training appointments in Serlachius Oy Paper Factory, Mantta, Finland in 1972, and in Gaz de France, Strasbourg, France in 1971.

An active participant in peer review of the Yucca Mountain Project for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste, Yortsos was a member of the Peer Review Committee on Thermal Hydrology in 1995, a member of the Panel on Expert Elicitation on the Near-Field/Altered Zone Environment in 1997-1998, and an advisor to the TSPA-VA Peer Review Committee in 1998-1999. He also served on the NRC Committees for the 2017 report on a New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research as well as the 2017 report on The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities. He currently serves a member of the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee.

Yortsos is currently the PI of the NSF I-Corps Innovation Node Los Angeles, established in 2014 as a partnership between USC, Caltech and UCLA.

Honors and awards[edit]

Yortsos’ awards and honors include the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) 2008 Western North America Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award, the Rossiter W. Raymond Award of the AIME for Outstanding Technical Paper by an author younger than 33 years of age (1985); the Distinguished Service Award of the Pi Epsilon Tau in 1984; the ARCO Oil and Gas Outstanding Jr. Faculty Award in 1981; and a Greek Government Scholarship for his undergraduate studies from 1968- 1973. He also received a Distinguished Educator Award from the Orange County Engineering Council in 2000.

He served as the executive editor of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal (SPEJ) and on the editorial boards of several journals, including Transport in Porous Media, the SIAM Journal on Multiscale Modeling and Simulation, the SPEJ and the American Mathematical Society. From 2006-2010, he served as SPE editor-in-chief of all technical journals. He is a University Fellow of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and serves on the advisory boards of a number of institutions worldwide, including the School of Information Science and Technology of Tsinghua University, and the Academic Advisory Council of the Greek Embassy in the United States. He was singled out among the Los Angeles 500: The most influential people in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Business Journal, in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Research and Teaching[edit]

Yortsos’ research and teaching interests are in the general areas of fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous and fractured media. He has supervised 27 Ph.D. theses and 8 post-doctoral researchers, and was the external examiner in seven Ph.D. theses, at the University of California, Berkeley; Alberta University, Canada; University of Bergen, Norway; University of Paris VI and University of Paris XI, France; and at Delft University, the Netherlands.

The author of more than 145 refereed publications, Yortsos has given more than 175 invited talks and presented more than 160 conference papers. Included in his publications are studies of steam injection, heat transfer, in-situ combustion and thermal recovery processes in porous media; the development of analytical solutions to mathematical models of transport in porous media; viscous flow instabilities in porous media and Hele-Shaw cells; viscous flows in constricted geometries; filtration and formation damage in porous media; application of percolation theory to immiscible displacement, adsorption and reaction processes in porous media; application of fractal geometry to the identification of parameters in the subsurface; the evolution of gas in phase change in porous media, as in boiling and related geothermal problems; the modeling of mass transfer in porous media with application to soil remediation; and the application of optimization methods in subsurface flows.


From September 1991 to July 1996, Yortsos was chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering. He then served as associate dean for academic affairs between July 1, 2001 and June 2003, and as senior associate dean for academic affairs between July 1, 2003 and May 31, 2005, also at the Viterbi School.

As dean of engineering since 2005, he articulated in 2008 the concept of Engineering+, positioning engineering as the enabling discipline of our times, and has been actively engaged in the effort to “change the conversation about engineering”. Along with colleagues at Duke University and Olin College, he co-founded in 2009 the Global Grand Challenges Scholars Program, now adopted by many universities in the US and overseas. He organized and hosted at USC in Fall 2010 the NAE Second Grand Challenges Summit, which spurred in 2013 the Global Grand Challenges Summits. These are bi-annual meetings of the NAE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on the organizing committees of which he has continuously served.

Between 2012 and 2017, Yortsos was the chair of the Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council, in which capacity he has spearheaded an engineering diversity initiative, now adopted by more than 210 engineering deans nationwide. In recognition of these initiatives, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering received in 2017 the ASEE President’s Award, and was one of the four engineering schools nationwide that received the ASEE Award for Excellence in Veterans in Engineering.

Between 2011 and 2017, Yortsos also served on the Executive Committee of the Engineering Deans Council (2011-2017) and on the Executive Committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council (2012-2016).


  1. ^ "USC - Viterbi School of Engineering - Yannis Yortsos". Retrieved 20 February 2013.