Saint Louis University

Research by Area

Research

Each and every trade has its favourite tools, some more powerful than others. A plumber would not get by without a good wrench, a carpenter needs a hammer, a mechanic a screwdriver and so on. Theoretical physicists prefer action principles.

This preference is natural given that many of the phenomena we are interested in are associated with deviations from some minimum energy equilibrium state. It is well known that, once you understand a problem from the variational point-of-view, you have a very powerful tool at your hands. However, it is also generally accepted that this approach is restricted to conservative systems. Read the full story here

PumpkinVisit the Saint Louis University Society of Physics Students (SPS) for the latest activities.  

Computational study of dolphins and whales hydrodynamics

In a collaboration with Dr. Mark McQuilling from the Dept. of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Potvin and his students are studying the hydrodynamic drag of cetaceans with the aim of understanding how much energy these animals spend to travel and feed. His team uses computer simulations of the flows about the body of these whales to figure out the forces that resist their motion through the water. The color picture in the top left shows a pressure map on the body (as represented by the so-called Cp - pressure coefficient). Here one sees the pressure to be highest near the head, and lowest over the middle third of the body. Here the fins and flukes have been removed. The effects of those are determined via water tunnel investigations. The simulations are based on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), where the equation of motions of the water particles (F = ma !) are calculated on each one of the tetrahedrons making up the mesh shown in the top middle photo. To save computer time, the mesh is at its highest resolution (ie with the smallest tetrahedrons) near the body where the flows are deflected the most (and where they are more complicated). These calculation are performed here at SLU, either on workstations or on a large computer cluster (top right).

Mouse over images to expand

SPS Member


Student research is one of the most important aspects of being a Saint Louis University Physics Major.

Most of our instructors are continuously engaged in the exploration of new ideas in physics. The list below gives an idea of what they are thinking about outside of the classroom. Many of the research projects that result involve the participation of undergraduate students.

Biophysics & Biomechanics
Vijai Dixit, Ph.D.
Jean Potvin, Ph.D.

Nuclear and Particle Physics
Leslie Benofy, Ph.D.
Vijai Dixit, Ph.D.
Thalanayar Santhanam, Ph.D.

Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics
Jean Potvin, Ph.D.
William Thacker, Ph.D.

Gravity and Cosmology
Greg Comer, Ph.D.
Ian Redmount, Ph.D.

Mathematical Physics
Thalanayar Santhanam, Ph.D.

Quantum Mechanics
Leslie Benofy, Ph.D.
Vijai Dixit, Ph.D.
Thalanayar Santhanam, Ph.D.
William Thacker, Ph.D.

Quantum Information
William Thacker, Ph.D.
Dmitry Solenov, Ph.D
David Wisbey, Ph.D.

Superconductivity & Solid-State Physics
Irma Kuljanishvili, Ph.D
Martin Nikolo, Ph.D.
Dmitry Solenov, Ph.D
Larry Stacey, Ph.D
David Wisbey, Ph.D.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
© 1818 - 2017  SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY   |   Disclaimer   |  Mobile Site
St. Louis   |   Madrid