Hans W. Liepmann Lecture in Aerospace

Hans W. Liepman

Date: Friday, October 31, 2014, 3:00–4:00 PM
Location: Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
Speaker: Morteza (Mory) Gharib, Caltech

The lecture is given to honor the memory of Hans W. Liepmann (1914-2009), who was the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, a GALCIT faculty member from 1939 to 1985; and served as the third director of GALCIT from 1972 to 1985. He is known for his pioneering research and as a passionate educator in fluid mechanics.

The Hans W. Liepman Lecture is made possible through a generous gift from Caltech Alumni Dr. Jain-Ming (James) Wu (MS ’59, PhD ’65 Ae) and Ying-Chu Lin (Susan) Wu (PhD ’63 Ae) who carried out their doctoral research in GALCIT. Through this lecture they honor a professor who has made significant impact in their lives.




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In Light of Fluid Mechanics

The study of fluid mechanics has been my path to understanding the complexity of nature. My journey has taken me through many interesting projects including the development of new visualization tools, scrutinizing the rhythms of the human heart, observing flow vortices and studying the dynamics of soap films. Throughout my career, I have maximized the joy of discovery in environments that were greatly influenced by legendary mentors like Liepmann and Roshko and countless other great teachers at GALCIT.

My mentors showed me how to be fearless in undertaking research that could have easily been dismissed as too difficult or criticized as useless science. Fluid mechanics, in its inherent non-linear beauty, has been its own laboratory, testing our perseverance and dedication to a branch of science that, despite its perceived maturity, still has many surprises to offer.

I devote a substantial part of this lecture to a recent example of my research that I believe Hans Liepmann would have enjoyed exploring: an experiment where light and fluid physics interweave to present an intriguing multi-physics show that reminds us again of how fluid mechanics is able to reveal nature’s complex beauty.

Morteza (Mory) Gharib

Vice Provost, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bio-Inspired Engineering, Caltech
Mory GharibDr. Mory Gharib received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tehran University in 1975 and then pursued graduate studies at Syracuse University (MS ’78, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering) and Caltech (PhD ’83, Aeronautics). After two years as a senior scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA/CIT), he joined the faculty of the Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences Department at UCSD in 1985. In January 1993 he became a full professor of aeronautics at Caltech.

Professor Gharib’s current research interests include vortex dynamics, flow structure interaction, flow control, and advanced flow-imaging diagnostics. His bio-mechanics and medical engineering research activities include cardiovascular fluid dynamics and aquatic propulsion, and also development of medical devices.

Dr. Gharib’s honors and affiliations include: Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). He has received five new technology recognition awards from NASA in the fields of advanced laser imaging and nanotechnology. He was given R&D Magazine’s “R&D 100” innovation award for one of the best inventions in 2008 for his 3-D imaging camera system. Dr. Gharib holds 77 issued U.S. Patents.

Relevant Links

Department of Aerospace (GALCIT)