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.
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 graduate courses in Energy Technology and Policy, Life Cycle Assessment, and undergraduate courses in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Engineering Economics, and Senior Design.