Why I Loved Fluid Dynamics as a Kid (and Still Do)

Like many other Physics undergraduate/graduate students, my first introduction to Prof. Julia Yeomans was as the author of the brilliantly written textbook Statistical Mechanics of Phase Transitions. Prof. Yeomans is a theoretical physicist at the University of Oxford who does some pretty cool stuff involving bacterial swimmers and water drops on hydrophobic surfaces among many other things.

It was indeed a delight, then, for the seven-year-old fluid dynamics-loving kid in me to listen to Prof. Yeomans speaking about the science of fluids yesterday at Kappi with Kuriosity.

Hold on. When I say the seven-year-old fluid dynamics-loving kid, I do not mean a seven-year-old crossing-out-the-time-derivative-term-in-the-Navier-Stokes-equation kid but rather a seven-year-old intrigued-with-his-toy-steamboat kid.

It was a lot fun, I remember, watching the noisy steamboat moving around in a tub of water. A couple of years later, it was Janice VanCleave’s Physics for Every Kid that added more substance to the intrigue and delight. A remarkable book in many ways, Physics for Every Kid was where I got my first introduction to the physics behind the swinging of a ball and the upward push or lift on an aircraft. A number of years and physics courses later, I do understand more of fluid dynamics than I did then, or so I think. Though, in any case, the love for the science of fluids remains the same.

Well, as I said, yesterday’s talk was a delight. You should watch it online when it’s up; you’ll find it on the ICTS YouTube channel.

A science outreach initiative of the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS-TIFR), Kappi with Kuriosity is a series of monthly public lectures organised in collaboration with the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium and the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bengaluru.

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