Aerospace Engineering Seminars

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AE590 Seminar: The Art and Science of Fluid Dynamics

Event Type
Department of Aerospace Engineering
CIF 2035
Apr 15, 2024   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Azar Panah, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Penn State University at Berks
Courtney McLearin

A swirling pattern in coffee, a ripple in a pond, a burst of flame, a shapeshifting cloud—all governed by fluid dynamics, which describe the ways that liquids or gases flow. Fluid dynamics is as much an art as a science. When merged, science and art have the power to communicate and express ideas in a way that can be absorbed into our collective knowledge, expanding and enlightening minds. This educational journey goes beyond traditional boundaries, extending from undergraduate classrooms to museum exhibitions. An experimental course on flow visualization is offered to undergraduate students, aiming to integrate two knowledge domains: the Art and Science of Fluid Motion. Students explore various aesthetic issues through practical and creative assignments, focusing on “integrative thinking”, “creative thinking”, and “effective communication”. Furthermore, the Traveling Gallery of Fluid Motion (TGFM) project, an extension of the Gallery of Fluid Motion (GFM) held annually at the American Physical Society (APS)’s Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) conference, aims to merge art and science, making fluid dynamics accessible to a wider audience. The overarching goal is to design a museum-like exhibition that enables the general public to learn STEAM content, see the world differently, and gain self-identification as a result of visiting the exhibit.

About the speaker: Dr. Azar Panah is currently an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University, Berks campus. She has taught undergraduate courses in measurement techniques, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and turbomachinery. She is teaching a unique course on the art and science of flow visualization and is conducting research on the impact of the course with respect to visual perception and educational outcomes. She loves fluid mechanics and is fascinated by the mechanics of flying birds and swimming fish. Her disciplinary research centers around unsteady aerodynamics of flapping wings. She is always game to investigate an interesting question, especially if she can encourage her students to sleuth around and wonder with her. Dr. Panah is the Coordinator of Gallery of Fluid Motion at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics (APS-DFD), and she serves the community in this capacity with an honor.

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