It’s only fitting to take a moment to look back at 2014 as we step into the New Year. It was a big year in many respects - we hit 1000 posts and broke 200,000 followers; I started producing FYFD videos on our YouTube channel; and, on a personal note, I finished up my PhD. But since we’re all about the science around here, I will give you, without further ado, the top 10 FYFD posts of 2014:
I can’t help but notice that 9 out of the 10 posts feature animated GIFs. Oh, Tumblr, you rascals. Happy New Year! (Image credits: BBC; A. Rivest; E. Lutz; Nat. Geo/BBC2; ESA/Hubble; R. Zhao et al.; D. Petit; A. Schueth; B. Kueny and J. Florence; Flow Visualization at UC Boulder)
Last night I walked across the stage as a student for the last time, receiving my PhD in aerospace engineering and getting hooded by my advisor in a tradition with roots back to medieval scholars. Even more so than the defense, it marked an official end to my PhD. None of that is really fluid dynamical, but I wanted to use the opportunity to thank each and every one of you who read and support FYFD. This blog began on a whim while I was a graduate student waiting for an opportunity to do the experiments I needed. I never could have predicted at the time the impact it would have on my life. FYFD became a part of my daily life, and thanks to you, readers, it became a source of inspiration and motivation for me as I pursued my studies. I have learned so much more about fluid dynamics in writing FYFD and answering your questions than I would ever have on my own. I have had opportunities to travel, to communicate and even meet with people from all corners of the globe who share some of my enthusiasm for the subject. It has been a wonderful experience so far, and I hope for many more ahead. Thank you all for being a part of it! (Photo credit: J. Mai)
New FYFD video! In which Dianna Cowern (Physics Girl) joins me to explore boundary layertransition and how a couple of small bits of roughness could be a huge problem for the Space Shuttle during re-entry. A lot of people have asked me what I did for my PhD research, and the truth is, I’ve never really discussed my own work here on FYFD. This video is probably the closest I’ve come. The story I tell about STS-114 is one that appears in the first chapter of my dissertation, and it did, in many respects, motivate my work exploring roughness effects on transition in Mach 6 boundary layers. I hope you enjoy my video, and don’t forget to check out Dianna’s video, too! (Video credit: N. Sharp/FYFD)
For the next week, FYFD is going to be exploring the physics of walking on water. Birds, bugs, and balls can all do it - we’ll look at how! To top off the week, I’ll be holding my first-ever FYFD live webcast on Saturday, March 5th at 1 pm EST (10 am PST; 6 pm GMT). My guests are Professor Tadd Truscott and PhD student Randy Hurd of the Splash Lab! Tadd, Randy, and their Splash Lab compatriots have been responsible for someofmyfavoriteFYFDtopicsoverthepastfiveyears and I’m super excited to have them on the webcast.
Normally, my webcasts will be reserved for FYFD’s $5+ Patreon patrons, but since this is a special occasion, we’re going to make the Hangout on Air link live to any FYFD patron on Patreon. Not a patron yet? What are you waiting for? Go sign up! You don’t want to miss this.
As a bonus, here’s Randy demonstrating his research:
Whether you’ve been here for 1 post or for all 1500, thank you! And special thanks, of course, to my Patreon patrons. If you’re a fan and want to help FYFD keep flowing and growing, please consider becoming a patron, too. (There’s cool perks available.) Here’s to the next 1500 posts!
Next week marks FYFD’s 4th birthday! It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long, or that the blog and I have come so far. I set out with the intention of explaining fluid dynamics to a broad audience because it’s a subject we all experience daily and yet one that few learn formally. (I also, as you may have guessed from the blog’s name, didn’t take things too seriously.) Many things have surprised me these past four years, but one of my favorites is how much I’ve learned. In researching and writing FYFD, I am constantly learning new and fascinating physics. I love it every time something new stuns me with its beauty, its cleverness, or its jaw-dropping, mind-blowing awesomeness. In celebration of that feeling, next week’s posts will revisit some of my favorite subjects, especially those that did and do amaze me. In the meantime, try not to let the ice cream melt. Unless you’re into that. (Video credit: I. Yang; submitted by Stuart B.)
The Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi, Russia, and here at FYFD, I am busy preparing a special series of posts on fluid dynamics in the Winter Games. Look for the first of those starting on Monday. In the meantime, you can check out some of FYFD’s previous themed series now compiled into a special archive. (Photo credit: B. Armangue)
Today is FYFD’s 1000th post! It’s been a wild ride over the last three-and-a-half years and I cannot thank you all enough for coming along. I’m continually amazed by FYFD’s popularity among readers of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s truly a joy to see excitement for fluid dynamics spreading.
The keen-eyed among you may have noticed a subtle change to the main page: I successfully defended my PhD Friday! I’m still working on wrapping my head around the idea of not being a student any more.
Anyway, I just wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate. I encourage you to take a look back at the archives, which are full of amazing science and physics, or read one of the themed series FYFD has featured. And, if you’ve enjoyed the blog, please don’t hesitate to spread the word! Thank you all again for your support. :-)