Dr. Thomson
Scott Thomson
350H EB
Office Phone


Dr. Thomson joined the BYU faculty in 2004. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from BYU (‘99, ‘00) and a PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University (‘04). From 2014 to 2016 he taught mechanical engineering at BYU-Idaho. He and his wife and their six children lived in Erlangen, Germany from 2011 to 2012 while he was a visiting faculty member at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. He was also a visiting faculty researcher at Wright Patterson Air Force Base during the summer of 2008.

Dr. Thomson and his students are currently primarily focused on researching the biomechanics of human voice production. More broadly, he is interested in studying systems in nature in which fluid motion and structural elasticity are coupled. He is, or has been, a principal or co-investigator on over $7 million in external research grants, primarily from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD, a component of the National Institutes of Health, NIH), as well as from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering measurement systems, computational fluid dynamics, and experimental fluids. He is a past Associate Editor for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR) and currently serves on the International Advisory Board of the Advances in Quantitative Laryngology conference series. He is a past recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the ASME Graduate Teaching Fellowship.

Dr. Thomson was born and raised in Idaho, served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand from 1992 to 1994, and is semi-conversant in Tongan. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and distance running.


Ph.D., Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering, August 2004
M.S., BYU, Mechanical Engineering, December 2000
B.S., BYU, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, April 1999
Assoc., Ricks College, General Studies, April 1996


Professor, BYU, Sep 2018 - Present
Associate Professor, BYU, Sep 2010 - Aug 2014; Jun 2016 - Aug 2018
Full-time Faculty, BYU-Idaho, Aug 2014 - May 2016
Visiting Faculty, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany), Jul 2011 - Jul 2012
Assistant Professor, BYU, Aug 2004 - Aug 2010
Visiting Faculty Researcher, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Jun 2008 - Aug 2008
Research Assistant, Purdue University, Aug 2000 - Jul 2004
Research Assistant, BYU, Sep 1998 - Aug 2000
Intern, 3Com, Feb 1998 - Aug 1998
Intern, Argonne National Laboratory-West, Jun 1997 - Aug 1997
Research Assistant, BYU, Jan 1997 - Apr 1997


Experimental and computational fluid mechanics and fluid-structure interactions; flow and elasticity in nature; biomechanics of human and animal voice production.


Graduate Students


1. Decker, Gifford. M.S. Thesis: Modeling the Mechanical Effects of Liquid Mediated Adhesion between the Human Vocal Folds. 8/2006.

2. Drechsel, James, M.S. Characterization of Synthetic, Self-Oscillating Vocal Fold Models. 12/2007.

3. Munger, Jacob, M.S. Frequency Response of the Skin on the Head and Neck During Production of Selected Speech Sounds.  8/2009.

4. Pickup, Brian, M.S. Influence of Material and Geometric Parameters on the Flow-Induced Vibration of Vocal Fold Models. 8/2010.

5. Lo Forte, Dan, M.S. Experimental Study of Liquid Squeeze-Flow as it Relates to Human Voice Production. 8/2011.

6. George, Ryan, M.S. Design and Analysis of a Flapping Wing Mechanism for Optimization. 12/2011.

7. Murray, Preston, M.S. Flow-Induced Responses of Normal, Bowed, and Augmented Synthetic Vocal Fold Models. 12/2011.

8. Smith, Simeon, M.S. Influence of Subglottic Geometry on Computational and Synthetic Vocal Fold Model Vibration. 12/2011.

9. Shurtz, Tim, M.S. Influence of Supraglottal Geometry and Modeling Choices on the Flow-Induced Vibration of a Computational Vocal Fold Model. 12/2011.

10. Naegle, Steve, M.S. Force Optimization and Flow Field Characterization from a Flapping Wing Mechanism. 12/2012.

11. Daily, Jesse, Ph.D. Fluid-Structure Interactions with Flexible and Rigid Bodies. 6/2013.

12. Fassmann, Wesley, M.S. An Experimental Study of Bio-inspired Force Generation by Unsteady Flow Features. 8/2014.

13. Seegmiller (Farley), Jayrin, M.S. Development of a Complex Synthetic Larynx Model and Characterization of the Supraglottal Jet. 8/2014.

14. Ward, Shelby, M.S. Refinement and Characterization of Synthetic Vocal Fold Models. 8/2014.

15. Stevens, Kimberly, M.S. Geometry and Material Properties of Vocal Fold Models. 8/2015.

16. Terry, Aaron, M.S. Modeling Vocal Fold Intravascular Flow with Synthetic Replicas. 12/2018.

17. Taylor, CJ, M.S. Internal Deformation Measurements and Optimization of Synthetic Vocal Fold Models. 12/2018.

18. Farnsworth, Michael, M.S. Wall Shear Stress in Simplified and Scanned Avian Respiratory Airways. 12/2018.


Papers & Other Products Appearing in Journals

35. Taylor CJ, Tarbox GJ, Bolster BD, Bangerter NK, Thomson SL. 2019. MRI-based measurement of internal deformation of vibrating vocal fold models. J Acoustical Society of America 145(2):989-997. DOI: 10.1121/1.5091009

34. Riede T, Thomson SL, Titze IR, Goller F. 2019. The evolution of the syrinx: An acoustic theory. PLoS Biology 17(2): e2006507. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006507

33. Kingsley EP, Eliason CM, Riede T, Li Z, Hiscock TW, Farnsworth M, Thomson SL, Goller F, Tabin CJ, Clarke JA. 2018. Identity and novelty in the avian syrinx. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 115(41):10209-10217. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804586115

32. Pan Z, Kiyama A, Tagawa Y, Daily DJ, Thomson SL, Hurd R, Truscott TT. 2017. Cavitation onset caused by acceleration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 114(32):8470-8474. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1702502114

31. Syndergaard KL, Dushku S, Thomson SL. 2017. Electrically-conductive synthetic vocal fold replicas for voice production research. J Acoustical Society of America 142(1):EL63-E:L68. DOI: 10.1121/1.4990540

30. Latifi N, Heris HK, Thomson SL, Taher R, Kazemirad S, Sheibani S, Li-Jessen NYK, Vali H, Mongeau L. 2016. A flow perfusion bioreactor system for vocal fold tissue engineering applications. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods 22(9):823-838. DOI: 10.1089/ten.tec.2016.0053

29. Pan Z, Whitehead J, Thomson SL, Truscott TT. 2016. Error propagation dynamics of PIV-based pressure field calculations: How well does the pressure Poisson solver perform inherently? Measurement Science and Technology 27:084012. DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/27/8/084012

28. Stevens KA, Jette ME, Thibeault SA, Thomson SL. 2016. Quantification of porcine vocal fold geometry. J Voice 30(4):416-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.06.009

27. Langley K, Hardester E, Thomson SL, Truscott TT. 2014. Three Dimensional Flow Measurements on Flapping Wings Using Synthetic Aperture PIV. Experiments in Fluids 55:1831. DOI: 10.1007/s00348-014-1831-4

26. Verkerke GJ, Thomson SL. 2014. Sound-producing voice prostheses: 150 years of research. Annual Reviews of Biomedical Engineering 16:215-45. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-bioeng-071811-150014

25. Murray PR, Thomson SL, Smith ME. 2014. A synthetic self-oscillating vocal fold model platform for studying augmentation injection. J Voice 28(2):133-143. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.10.014

24. Shurtz TE, Thomson SL. 2013. Influence of numerical model selections on the flow-induced vibration of a computational vocal fold model. Computers and Structures 122:44-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2012.10.015

23. Truscott TT, Nielson JR, Daily DJ, Thomson SL, Belden J. 2013. Determining 3D flow fields via light field imaging. J Visualized Experiments 73:e4325. DOI: 10.3791/4325

22. Smith SL, Thomson SL. 2013. Influence of subglottic stenosis on the flow-induced vibration of a computational vocal fold model. J Fluids & Structures 38:77-91. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2012.11.010

21. Daily DJ, Thomson SL. 2013. Acoustically-coupled flow-induced vibration of a computational vocal fold model. Computers and Structures 116:50-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2012.10.022

20. Weiß S, Thomson SL, Lerch R, Döllinger M, Sutor A. 2013. Pipette aspiration applied to the characterization of nonhomogeneous, transversely isotropic materials used for vocal fold modeling. J Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 17:137-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2012.08.005

19. Murray PR, Thomson SL. 2012. Vibratory responses of synthetic, self-oscillating vocal fold models. J Acoustical Society of America 132(5):3428-3438. DOI: 10.1121/1.4754551

18. Shaw SM, Thomson SL, Dromey C, Smith S. 2012. Frequency response of synthetic vocal fold models with linear and nonlinear material properties. J Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 55(5):1395-1406. DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0153)

17. Smith SL, Thomson SL. 2012. Effect of inferior surface angle on the self-oscillation of a computational vocal fold model. J Acoustical Society of America 131(5):4062-4075. DOI: 10.1121/1.3695403

16. George RB, Colton MB, Mattson CM, Thomson SL. 2012. A differentially driven flapping wing mechanism for force analysis and trajectory optimization. Int J Micro Air Vehicles 4(1):31-49. DOI 10.1260/1756-8293.4.1.31

15. Murray PR, Thomson SL. 2011. Synthetic, multi-layer, self-oscillating vocal fold model fabrication. J Visualized Experiments 58:e3498. DOI: 10.3791/3498

14. Kniesburges S, Thomson SL, Barney A, Triep M, Sidlof P, Horacek J, Brücker C, Becker S. 2011. In vitro experimental investigation of voice production. Current Bioinformatics 6(3):305-322. DOI: 10.2174/157489311796904637

13. Farley J, Thomson SL. 2011. Acquisition of detailed laryngeal flow measurements in geometrically realistic models. J Acoustical Society of America 130(2):EL82-EL86. DOI: 10.1121/1.3609125

12. Pickup BA, Thomson SL. 2011. Identification of geometric parameters influencing the flow-induced vibration of a two-layer self-oscillating computational vocal fold model. J Acoustical Society of America 129(4):2121-2132. DOI: 10.1121/1.3557046

11. Pickup BA, Thomson SL. 2010. Flow-induced vibratory response of idealized vs. magnetic resonance imaging-based synthetic vocal fold models. J Acoustical Society of America 128(3):EL124-EL129. DOI: 10.1121/1.3455876

10. Pickup BA, Thomson SL. 2009. Influence of asymmetric stiffness on the structural and aerodynamic response of synthetic vocal fold models. J Biomechanics 42(14):2219-2225. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.06.039

9. Munger JB, Thomson SL. 2008. Frequency response of the skin on the head and neck during production of selected speech sounds. J Acoustical Society of America 124(6):4001-4012. DOI: 10.1121/1.3001703

8. Riede T, Tokuda I, Munger JB, Thomson SL. 2008. Mammalian laryngeal air sacs add variability to the vocal tract impedance: Physical and computational modeling. J Acoustical Society of America 124(1):634-647. DOI: 10.1121/1.2924125

7. Drechsel JS, Thomson SL. 2008. Influence of supraglottal structures on the glottal jet exiting a two-layer synthetic, self-oscillating vocal fold model. J Acoustical Society of America 123(6):4434-4445. DOI: 10.1121/1.2897040

6. Thomson SL, Tack JW, Verkerke GJ. 2007. A numerical study of the flow-induced vibration characteristics of a voice-producing element for laryngectomized patients. J Biomechanics 40:3598-3606. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2007.06.007

5. Decker GZ, Thomson SL. 2007. Computational simulations of vocal fold vibration: Bernoulli vs. Navier-Stokes. J Voice 21(3):273-284. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2005.12.002

4. Thomson SL, Mongeau L, Frankel SH. 2007. Flow over a membrane-covered, fluid-filled cavity. Computers and Structures 85:1012-1019. DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2006.11.018

3. Thomson SL, Mongeau L, Frankel SH. 2005. Aerodynamic transfer of energy to the vocal folds. J Acoustical Society of America 118(3):1689-1700. DOI: 10.1121/1.2000787

2. Zhang Z, Mongeau L, Frankel SH, Thomson SL, Park JB. 2004. Sound generation by steady flow through glottis-shaped orifices. J Acoustical Society of America 116:1720-1728. DOI: 10.1121/1.1779331

1. Thomson SL, Maynes D. 2001. Spatially resolved temperature measurements in a liquid using laser induced phosphorescence. J Fluids Engineering 123(2):293-302. DOI: 10.1115/1.1365960


Daily J, Pendlebury J, Langley K, Hurd R, Thomson S, Truscott T. 2014. Catastrophic cracking courtesy of quiescent cavitation. Physics of Fluids 26:091107. DOI: 10.1063/1.4894073. Short description of Milton van Dyke award-winning Gallery of Fluid Motion entry.


Classes Taught at BYU:
Fluid Mechanics - ME EN 312
Instrumentation - ME EN 363
Intermediate Fluid Mechanics - ME EN 512
Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer - ME EN 541
Experimental Fluid Mechanics - ME EN 613
Capstone Coach

Classes Taught at BYU-Idaho:
Fluid Mechanics - ME 360
Electro-Mechanical Devices II - ME 310
Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics - ME 204
Engineering Computation I - ME 142
Materials Laboratory - ME 250L

Courses Taught at Purdue University (During PhD Studies):
Engineering Mechanics I: Statics and Particle Dynamics

Office Hours

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 12:00pm-1:00pm