Fluid Dynamics Research Prize Awarded to Mathematics and Physics Professor

A seven-year study into the fluid dynamics that govern everything from airplane turbulence to ocean currents recently earned a top prize for a UCF researcher.

The Fluid Dynamics Research Prize for 2023 was awarded by the Japan Society of Fluid Mechanics to Professor of Mathematics and Physics, Bhimsen Shivamoggi, Ph.D., and a team of collaborators from the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands.

The team was recognized for their in-depth study into the function of a diagnostic tool called the Okubo-Weiss criteria or parameter. The Okubo-Weiss is one of the most widely used formula components in fluid mechanics, but, until this study, why it worked was largely a mystery.

“We wanted to investigate why things happen the way they do,” Shivamoggi said. “We asked questions such as ‘What is the tool doing? Why is it working?’”

The results of the study provide a deeper understanding of Okubo-Weiss that will serve as a steppingstone into more advanced hydrodynamic flows research. Current understanding makes flight possible, for instance, by designing wings that divide flow between hyperbolic (stretching that aids mixing) and elliptic (rotation that suppresses mixing). It’s also the principle behind the wind, tide and currents in the ocean.

The growth of hydrodynamic research can inform everything from the future shape of wind turbines to minimizing the environmental impact of pollution.

Shivamoggi feels a sense of satisfaction knowing the team’s work has broad, global impact.

“I see my work as a community event,” he said. “This recognition is proof that the work is of interest to many people which is what makes it worth it.”

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