Barclay Jones


For his leadership and commitment in guiding nuclear engineering education over the past 50 years at the University of Illinois

Professor Emeritus, Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois

  • BE, Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, 1954
  • MS, Nuclear Engineering, University of Illinois, 1960
  • PhD, Nuclear Engineering, University of Illinois, 1966

Barclay Jones arrived on the Illinois campus during the fall of 1958 to attend graduate school. He thought he would only be on campus for a short stay while working on his degree, but he remains on campus 45 years later as a professor emeritus.

In addition to helping on his family’s homestead farm, he spent his undergraduate summer months in the Canadian Air Force as an officer training to be a pilot. He received his wings and served as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force during this time and after. Following these years, he became a licensed commercial pilot in Montreal, Canada.

Prior to attending graduate school at Illinois, Jones worked at several different organizations. He began his career at Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. However, later took a job with English Electric Company where he worked as Athlone Fellow. He went on to work at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment where he became a trained reactor operator. Then he returned to Canada to work at Canadair and eventually left that position to go to Westinghouse Atomic Power in Pittsburg.

He enrolled in graduate school at Illinois in 1958. At Illinois, he worked for Professor Bei Tse Chao while earning his degree. In 1960, he began working on his PhD and was encouraged to continue studying in the nuclear engineering department. In 1963, he began his teaching career at Illinois and was hired as a full time faculty member. Jones worked under Professor Chao conducting research on heat transfer. In fact, when Chao left the country for several months, Jones took over teaching his peers in graduate-level courses in heat transfer. In 1966, Jones finished his PhD program and became an assistant professor with the department. He was promoted to an associate professor in 1968 and full professor in 1972.

Jones served as the associate chair of the Nuclear Engineering Program from 1981-1986, and was acting head of the newly formed Nuclear Engineering Department for a year, then became the permanent department head for 13 years. In 2008, when the department celebrated their 50th anniversary, they honored Jones as one of the founders. He is so beloved by NPRE alumni that they successfully forged a grassroots campaign to establish a graduate fellowship in his name, and the first Jones Fellow was awarded in 2010.

His research interests have included thermal-hydraulics, reactor safety, multiphase flow, boiling heat transfer, turbulence measurement and modeling, flow-induced vibrations and aeroacoustics, human-machine interfaces for reactor control and simulation, and food irradiation safety. Among his contributions were the development of an experimental apparatus to look at the behavior of suspended particles in turbulent pipe flow, and the development of an instrument measuring local fluctuating static pressure. Jones also led the design of the reactor coolant system for the University’s Advanced TRIGA Reactor.

Jones is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, a faculty initiate of Tau Beta Pi, and an Honorary Member of Alpha Nu Sigma. Along with being acknowledged as a Engineering at Illinois Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, His honors include the 2010 NPRE Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2000 Glenn Murphy Award from the American Society of Engineering Education, the 1998 NPRE Outstanding Professor Award, the 1991 Power Engineering Educator Award from the Edison Electric Institute, and the 1982 Halliburton Education Leadership Award.