“Dr. Nelson has played an influential role in shaping the transit noise and vibration practice around the world through his pioneering work for over four decades. His knowledge and experience are reflected in the high quality work products that he delivers to the clients. His in-depth knowledge extends to areas such as rails, track design, and vehicle design making him a one-stop shop for finding creative solutions to complex transit vibration problems. It is a client’s delight to have the services of such a true expert who is also very accessible and unassuming.”

Shankar Rajaram, PhD, Sound Transit

James Nelson, PhD, PE, Senior Principal

Since joining Wilson Ihrig in 1973, Dr. Nelson’s expertise has focused on noise and vibration control engineering for rail and highway systems, semiconductor manufacturing facilities, research laboratories, and industrial plants. His experience includes ground vibration prediction and control, tunnel/soil interaction, numerical analysis of vibration propagation in layered porous soils and rock, track and rail vehicle dynamics, rail vehicle shock and vibration testing, subway air pressure transient prediction and control, rail system vibration isolation design and specification, long range sound propagation, seismic ground disturbance surveys, environmental impact studies, expert witnessing, and modeling poro-elastic phenomena related to hydraulic fracturing. Dr. Nelson has also been the author of numerous papers and presentations on noise and vibration projects worldwide.


B.A. Physics & Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley
M.S. Engineering Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
Professional Mechanical Engineer, California, 1979, License No. 019425
Professional Engineer, Washington, 2008, License No. 45090

Why I Work at Wilson Ihrig

 “Wilson Ihrig provides opportunities for growth and challenge in a consulting environment that includes exposure to a wide range of acoustical and vibrational problems. I have strived to combine physics and mathematics in my consulting engineering practice, and Wilson Ihrig provided an opportunity to do just that. I am continually impressed with our staff’s ability to conduct testing under adverse circumstances around the world, ranging from the United States proper; to Canada, Morocco, Singapore, and Brazil, just to name a few. I look forward to retirement, but will miss the excitement of consulting and dealing with a wide variety of clients and colleagues.”