Immediately prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Thomas was the 2004-05 APS Congressional Science Fellow in the legislative office of Representative Rush Holt, where she worked on energy and science legislative issues, including managing the Congressional R&D Caucus for Rep. Holt, and work on the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Previously she worked at Princeton University at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; and at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Thomas was a Member of the US EPA Chartered Science Advisory Board from 2003 to 2009. In 2006 she was chair of the Gordon Research Conference in Industrial Ecology, held at Oxford University, UK. She is currently Past-Chair of the 5000-member Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physical Society, Associate Editor of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, board member of the Federation of American Scientists, board member of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, and a member of the US DOE/USDA Biomass Research R&D Technical Advisory Committee.
Thomas' current research is on the environmental impacts and costs of energy systems, the environmental impacts of products and services, and the effects of policies and technologies on the development of energy systems. In 2009 her work was featured in the New York Times' 9th Annual Year in Ideas; her work has also been cited in the Wall Street Journal, ABC News Now, and Popular Science. In 2009 she provided testimony on recycling research needs to the Committee on Science and Technology of the US House of Representatives.
Thomas has a PhD in high energy physics from Cornell University and a BA in physics from Swarthmore College. Her Ph.D. thesis work was on the catalysis of proton decay in grand unified theories, and her post-doctoral research was on the verification of nuclear arms control treaties. She was a participant in 1989 Black Sea Experiment on the detection of nuclear warheads, and was one of the founders of the International Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs, now in its 26th year. She has more than 80 technical publications spanning energy, environment, optimization, physics, and nuclear arms control.
At Georgia Tech, Thomas teaches a graduate course in Energy Technology and Policy, and undergraduate courses in Energy and Environmental Analysis, Engineering Economics, and Senior Design.
Left: Energy Technology and Policy class at the solar power arrays on the roof of the Campus Recreation Center.Right: Geoffrey Carter, Julia Bunch and Robert Adams with the household-sized wind turbine they made in ISYE 4803.• Energy Technology and Policy (graduate course cross listed in ISYE and PUBP) Spring 2014 (syllabus)
• Energy and Environmental Analysis (undergraduate ISYE course) Fall 2013 (syllabus)
• Engineering Economy (undergraduate ISYE course) Fall 2013 (syllabus)
Professional Activities• Past-Chair, Forum on Physics and Society, American Physical Society
• Associate Editor, Journal of Industrial Ecology
• 2004-2005 American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. I worked in the legislative office of Representative Rush Holt on science policy issues.