Graham founded FLIP as a focal point for his diverse fluid dynamics research and testing group.

Graham is a Lockheed Martin Endowed Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Aerospace Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University, where he teaches experimental aerodynamics and other subjects in fluid dynamics, and oversees the Low Speed Wind Tunnel Lab. He has been Primary Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on over $1 million of external research and major infrastructure funding. He is highly involved in helping student startups spin out of the College of Engineering, and leads a High Performance Computing working group.

In 2015 Graham instigated PROVE Lab - the Cal Poly Prototype Vehicles Laboratory, which he oversees as academic adviser. PROVE Lab is currently an umbrella for several alternative-energy vehicle projects on land, in the air, and under the waves. 

Prior to Cal Poly he was a Lecturer and Early Career Researcher at UNSW Australia, where he was also Academic Supervisor and aerodynamics mentor to the highly successful Sunswift Solar Car Racing Team

He completed a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 2004 and his PhD from UNSW Australia in Sydney in 2009. In 2011/2012 he was named a QANTAS Research Fellow of the American Australian Association, leading to an appointment as a visiting Assistant Visiting Research Professor at the United States Naval Academy.


Graham is well-known in the field for his work on high speed ground effect aerodynamics, having published some of the major works in the field during and after his PhD. He is regarded internationally as an expert in this area and has given several talks and seminars on the many phenomena uncovered and the applications of his research - from maglev-assisted launch of space vehicles to future high speed transport systems to wing-in-ground effect vehicles, racing cars, and land speed record cars.

Directing FLIP means Graham is now leading or supporting a variety of projects, primarily in transient high speed flow phenomena (shock wave interactions with boundary layers and flames, supersonic wakes) and maneuvering bodies at lower speeds (road vehicles and autonomous aircraft and underwater vehicles). Main interests in 2018, apart from getting Cal Poly's wind tunnel back into shape, include research on bird wing tips and seal flippers, as well as continuing work on shock wave interactions with flames, and aerodynamic considerations in design and modelling of performance vehicles, electric cars, and heavy vehicles.

Graham's research has been published in top-tier journals including Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the AIAA Journal. His work has been featured in Wired, Popular Science, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, BBC World, the Weather Channel, and more.

For a full listing of Graham's academic research outputs and recent awards,
head to the FLIP publications page.


Racing and Records

Graham has been involved in solar and electric car racing for a decade, first leading the aerodynamic design and development team for Sunswift IVy as a PhD student in 2008 - IVy was highly successful, taking class wins at the 2009 and 2011 World Solar Challenges and setting a Guinness World Record in 2011 for the fastest solar-powered vehicle (beating a long-standing record by the GM Sunraycer).

As a professor, Graham guided the Sunswift team into a new era of solar car design, resulting in the unique 2-seater solar supercar concept, eVe - this car took line honors in the 2013 World Solar Challenge and set an FIA International Land Speed Record in 2014 for the Fastest Electric Car over 500km (sustaining highway speeds for over 4 hours continuous driving on a battery pack <20% of the capacity of a Tesla Model S).

In 2015 Graham developed this background and success into a larger idea - establishing the Prototype Vehicles Laboratory (PROVE Lab) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with the express aim of developing innovative, ultra-aerodynamic vehicles to break records in the alternative energy arena while engaging school students and the broader public with the organization's groundbreaking work. Visit for more.


The rest

Graham is the founder of Boom Scientific, and that's about all we can say about that right now. He also spends a lot of time herding guinea pigs, and is developing a large-scale kinetic fluid sculpture.

Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering, San Luis Obispo

If you're here to find out more about Cal Poly's AE department or information on Graham's courses and lab facilities, go here.

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