May 04, 2010

Several Professors Selected to Receive Fulbright Awards

Charles Rosenblatt

Two Case Western Reserve University professors have been selected to receive Fulbright awards, while one recently wrapped up her fellowship.

Charles Rosenblatt and Anna Maria Mandalakas will soon begin their research abroad, while Kathryn Lavelle recently completed her project.

The Fulbright Program promotes educational exchanges for university faculty and students, focusing on lectures, research and graduate study.

Lynn Singer, deputy provost and vice president for academic programs, partly attributes Case Western Reserve's increase in the number of awardees to efforts in the Office of the Provost to inform and facilitate faculty applications, including annual forums highlighting past Fulbright winners and a new Fulbright Scholars Program website, which debuted during the 2009-10 academic year.

"Our office has worked on this for quite awhile. I think it's really paying off," she says of the site, which includes an overview of the program, application information and highlights from previous faculty and student winners.

Today, learn about Charles Rosenblatt’s project:

Charles Rosenblatt, professor of physics and macromolecular science, will spend the fall 2010 semester at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Université Paris VI) in France.

Rosenblatt, who studies magnetic levitation of fluids and fluid dynamics, plans to conduct research focusing primarily on how an interface between two immiscible fluids becomes unstable and their subsequent complex flow. The process is seen throughout the man-made world and in nature, from mixing vinegar and oil in salad dressing and manufacturing sprays in inkjet printers, to the mixing of fluids in an exploding supernova or during the energy-releasing process in inertial confinement schemes for nuclear fusion, a potentially inexhaustible source of energy.

"There are many things in nature that look different but have many common aspects. We try to understand why this occurs," Rosenblatt says. "From a scientific perspective, this is interesting in its own right. It helps us understand a broad range of phenomena."

The Fulbright Award and work in Paris is an opportunity for Rosenblatt to strengthen ties with his French colleagues. He met Université Paris professor Pierre Carlés at a NASA-sponsored microgravity conference in 2004, and they began working together soon thereafter.

They now share a graduate and postdoctoral student for a major research project funded by the Partner University Fund, administered through the French Foreign Ministry. The two universities created a cooperation and exchange agreement initially based on the work of Rosenblatt and Carlés. It has since been extended to other faculty members, including Case Western Reserve’s Rolfe Petschek.

Carlés has become an adjunct associate professor of physics at Case Western Reserve, while Rosenblatt has been appointed to the position of "professeur invité" at Université Paris VI.

A first-time Fulbright Scholar, Rosenblatt says the program is a good example of collaboration. "There are a lot of opportunities for bringing students here and having a formal exchange for research."

The scientists use strong magnetic fields to levitate dense magnetic liquids against gravity. When the magnetic field is turned off, gravity dominates and the denser fluid sinks beneath the less dense (nonmagnetic) fluid. The fluid undergoes many different types of flow during the process, which Rosenblatt, Carlés, and Petschek study analytically from videos that record the motion.

Essentially, "We're turning gravity on and off," he explains.

Rosenblatt plans to help build a laboratory at the French university complementary to the one he has here. "We will be able to examine faster processes here, whereas in France they'll be able to do magnetic studies on physically larger systems." He plans to make several trips between Université Paris VI and Case Western Reserve to check on progress and research in both labs.

Rosenblatt has been practicing French every day. He has a notebook filled with English-French translations for common words and phrases.

In addition to his Fulbright Award, Rosenblatt is continuing his research on liquid crystals and complex fluids through the National Science Foundation, marking 25 years of uninterrupted single-investigator support. In addition, his latest grant from the Department of Energy, "Nanoscopic Control and Imaging," marks 12 years of uninterrupted single-investigator support.

For more information contact Kevin Mayhood, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, May 4, 2010 09:46 AM | News Topics: Awards, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty, news

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