Mechanical engineering Ph.D. student Ben Savino gets to experience the world’s top group in turbulence research
As Savino explained, “it is the place for fluid mechanics.”
Wu has been affiliated with the CTR since 2022, when he became a visiting assistant professor.
That means that he could advance his research into the understanding of turbulence and its modelling through discussion and collaboration with experts in the field. The center’s director, Parviz Moin, is a world-renowned pioneer in making high-fidelity numerical simulation of fluid flows and modeling possible.
Savino went with Wu to help with numerical experiments of a bio-inspired flow phenomenon.
I was working on the coding to replicate how the structure, movement and porosity of sharkskin responds to flows. We want to have a fundamental understanding of how this leads to hydro-dynamic advantages. That could be beneficial for a wide variety of applications.
– Ben Savino
The set of simulations were the biggest and most challenging ones he’d ever done, using more than 2000 CPUs and algorithms involving multiphysics.
A great mentoring relationship
Savino said that his working relationship with Wu strikes the perfect balance, giving him self-sufficiency and support when he needs it.
As he explained, “Wen provided the research directions and I tried to figure out the best way to get the answer. We also worked together a lot on improving the algorithms and discussing the physics. That meant there were a few late nights!”
Over the six-week period at CTR, Wu noticed an impressive growth in Savino’s research skills.
His independence and skills have notably expanded, and he’s been actively exploring new horizons. It’s been a true privilege for me to work with Ben on this exciting project, and we’ve created many cherished memories along the way.
– Wen Wu
A collaborative environment
For Savino, it was the interaction with the other researchers that made this experience so inspiring and motivating. He worked with Ph.D. students from around the world – Egypt, France, India, New Zealand and more.
We’re working in such a niche area. Even when I was out in the evening with the other Ph.D. students, it was natural to talk about work. We can discuss complex things with people who understand.
– Ben Savino
Also, there were weekly group meetings where the team leads, including Wu, would give updates on their work in supersonic flows, turbulence modelling, multiphase flows and more. Savino was impressed with how smart everyone was.
Savino envisions that the connections he made this summer will lead to future collaborations.
It wasn’t all work
Savino acknowledged that there was lots of work he and Wu wanted to achieve while they were there. So, free time was at a minimum.
Luckily, they did carve out some time to enjoy California.
They checked out tons of restaurants, hiked through Half Moon Bay and the primeval redwoods at Muir Woods, and even hit a Giants game at Oracle Park.
Ben Savino is the recipient of the highly-competitive NSF-Graduate Research Fellowship award. The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.