Life After Case

Posted by Nicole Sharp on 04 April 2007 at 16:24

I had kind of intended for my last entry, written the night I graduated, to be my final entry in this blog (although I have still been posting in my personal blog), but, after some prodding, I decided to give a bit of an update as to how my life has been post-Case.

Me in one of our wind tunnelsI moved to Ithaca, NY, and joined the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University last August. As a first year student, I was not immediately attached to a research lab, so my first semester was spent taking three graduate courses and essentially shopping around for an advisor.

In December, I received word that I'd been officially placed with Dr. Zellman Warhaft, along with one of the other first-year students. Since the only other student in our lab defended his thesis in January, we've actually been working in the lab pretty steadily since December, so that we can learn as much as possible before he leaves at the end of the summer.

We work in experimental turbulence research, and our current work is motivated by a desire to understand the role of turbulence in cloud formation, a factor that is little understood by current theories and models and which, we suspect, may have a large impact on global warming predictions. My first couple of months in the lab involved learning the basics of hot-wire anemometry--along with a great deal about the topic of turbulence in general.

A few weeks ago, during our Spring Break, we moved over to our other lab space, where we have a cool wind tunnel set-up where we spray water droplets into the air flow and then track them using a video camera that moves alongside the tunnel at the mean speed of the flow. This, of course, requires a much more complicated apparatus, and it's a set-up that only one or two other places in the world have, which means that we have a pretty cutting-edge way to view the physics. I basically spent my Spring Break taking hundreds of videos on that apparatus, and yesterday we moved the laser sheet and started working on a new experiment, the results of which I expect will be presented at the APS Fluids conference in November. (I don't know yet whether I'll be attending said conference, or whether my name will just appear somewhere in the presentation as an afterthought.)

One nice aspect of my research group is our close collaboration with a simulation group here at Cornell led by Dr. Lance Collins and with Dr. Eberhard Bodenschatz's group in Germany. In fact, at some point in my studies, I will probably spend a summer doing research in Germany, which thrills me.

Cascadilla GorgeIn other matters, it's been quite a change moving from Cleveland to little Ithaca, but I've found a lot to enjoy. When the weather is nice, I can easily go hiking or walking in the woods or in one of the many gorges that run throughout the town. I missed that a lot more than I realized in the years since I left Arkansas. Ithaca also has periodic festivals downtown that I've found very entertaining; there's something very nice about being able to walk around and see families and children and life outside of a university campus. It's a nice reminder that there is a world outside of life on the Hill.

There's more I could say about Ithaca and Cornell, but I think I'll leave those matters for another day.

0 comments 0 trackbacks permalink

Post a Comment