Upcoming Graduate Seminar: December 10th, 2018

(December 4th, 2018)
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Professor Timothy Wei


Dolphins are by nature made to swim fast; humans, perhaps, not so much. In this talk, we will explore the fundamental fluid dynamics of fast swimming in the context of dolphins and humans.  In the former, we will look at flow around dolphins in the context of ‘Gray’s Paradox’, a conclusion drawn in the early 1900s that dolphins are incapable of swimming as fast as they can.  And, turning to humans, though there is a ‘dolphin kick’, there is little resemblance to the actual swimming motion of its namesake.  As such, we will explore what is necessary for humans to swim ‘fast’.   Movies of PIV flow measurements and time resolved force measurements around swimmers, including Olympic gold medalists Beth Botsford, Megan Jendrick and world record holder Ariana Kukors will be presented.  Additional data featuring Primo, the retired Navy dolphin will be highlighted.


Timothy (Tim) Wei is the Richard L. McNeel Professor at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  He received B.S. (1980) and M.S. (1982) degrees in Mechanical Eng’g. from Cornell and Lehigh, respectively, and a Ph.D. (1987) in Aerospace Eng’g. from Michigan.  He joined the faculty at Rutgers in July 1987 and subsequently moved to RPI in 2006 as Department Head and Interim Dean.  From 2011 to 2016, Prof. Wei served as Dean of Engineering at UNL.  He has held visiting appointments at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, MIT and Tampere University of Technology.  He is a Fellow of ASME, APS and IMechE.  He served on the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A and ASME’s Sr.VP for Public Affairs and Outreach.