Exploring the boundaries of turbulence wins honors for Caltech researcher

November 23, 2009

An Air Force Office of Scientific Research-funded researcher is exploring the physics of turbulence, including the potential impact of turbulence on flows, which are of interest to the Air Force.

The researcher, Dr. Beverley J. McKeon of California Institute of Technology is using both new and traditional diagnostic materials to produce simplified models of conditions that produce turbulence.

"Turbulence remains one of the greatest unsolved problems of classical physics and has received considerable attention over several decades," she said.

"Advanced understanding of these fundamental aspects of flow over a surface has the potential to impact a broad range of Air Force applications, particularly with a view to the design of future vehicles," said McKeon.

In addition to Air Force applications, she added that these fundamental advances should have impact across many technologies in which there is turbulent flow over a surface, from commercial aviation to industrial flows.

For her cutting-edge work of advancing a simplified model of turbulence under different pressure gradients, McKeon was one of 41 DoD-funded recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers this fall in Washington. The award honors young scientists in the early years of their independent careers.

"I am extremely excited and honored," she said upon learning of her selection.

McKeon said she is also grateful for Caltech's support and a wonderful group of students and post docs and wished to acknowledge the training she received from her Ph.D. and postdoctoral advisors, Lex Smits of Princeton University and Jonathan Morrison of Imperial College.
ABOUT AFOSR: The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), located in Arlington, Virginia, continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force's basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR's mission is to discover, shape and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research

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