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Mechanical Engineering

Speaker: Charles Doering
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Heat Rises: 100 Years of Rayleigh-Bénard Convection

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
3:30 PM  to 4:30 PM

128  Mechanical Engineering Building
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

Buoyancy forces result from density variations, often due to temperature variations, in the presence of gravity. Buoyancy-driven fluid flows play a major role in many engineering thermo-fluid systems, and shape the weather, ocean and atmosphere dynamics, the climate, and the structure of the earth and stars. In 1916 Lord Rayleigh published a paper entitled "On Convection Currents in a Horizontal Layer of Fluid, when the Higher Temperature is on the Under Side" introducing the minimal mathematical model of buoyancy-driven fluid flow now known as Rayleigh-Bénard convection. For a century this model has served as a primary paradigm of complex nonlinear dynamics displaying spontaneous symmetry breaking and pattern formation, chaos and turbulence. Here we describe progress and challenges for the analysis of Rayleigh's model in the strongly nonlinear regime of turbulent convection.

Biography of Charles Doering:
Charles Doering is the Nicholas D Kazarinoff Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Mathematics and Physics at the University of Michigan and is the Director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems. Professor Doering’s research is focused on the analysis of mathematical models with the aim of extracting reliable, rigorous, and useful predictions. These models range from stochastic, dynamical systems arising in biology, chemistry and physics, to systems of nonlinear partial differential equations such as those that (ostensibly) describe turbulent fluid flows. Professor Doering received a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Antioch College, a Master’s in physics from the University of Cincinnati, and a Doctorate in mathematical physics from The University of Texas at Austin. He held positions at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at Clarkson University prior to joining the Michigan faculty in 1996. He is also a faculty (and often director or principal lecturer) at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Summer Program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Among other recognitions, Professor Doering has received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science & the Arts Excellence in Education Award, a Fulbright Scholarship, and a Humboldt Research Award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 2014, Professor Doering was named a Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics.

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