1/17/17 Show feat. Mark Miller on wind turbines and scaled fluid dynamics + Lian Zhu on curiosity

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Featured image: Wind turbines mess with air flow, but the process can only be modeled in sophisticated labs or in computer codes like this Purdue University software.

We welcome Mark Miller, a PhD candidate in Prof. Hultmark’s Gas Dynamics Lab, who knows all about the aerodynamics of wind turbines. Wind energy is a crucial component of the future’s energy landscape, but learning how to optimize their engineering is a work in progress. How should a windmill farm be laid out to maximize each turbine’s output? How can scientists model the air flow around windmills in lab-sized models? And finally, how does wind energy fit into the grid?

Before Mark’s interview an hour in, listen for science news about ant laziness to polar ice shelves melting. Later in the show, former guest Lian Zhu returns to dive into the philosophy of curiosity (detailed in Carlo Rovelli’s new book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics).

Resources to enjoy:

The playlist for the show can be found on WPRB.com or below.

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