A. Sue Weisler
Nate Barlow and Steve Weinstein are making waves.
This year they began making and using 3D-printed models of mathematical equations to illustrate wave systems and other fluid dynamics concepts as part of their research. They’re also using the models in undergraduate math classes.
“Implementing 3D-printed items helps make visual some of the complex math solutions we create in research. It also appeals to those students who may have trouble seeing surfaces in our classes,” said Weinstein, a professor of chemical engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. He and Barlow, assistant professor of mathematics in the College of Science, are research partners leading the Asymptotics and Wave Instability Group, modeling wave phenomena to understand how growing waves could impact manufacturing processes or how sound waves, or turbulence, affects aircraft, for example.
The faculty had a eureka moment more than a year ago when a student in the wave lab produced several 3D-printed models of wave dispersion, such as three-dimensional images of ripples on a pond.
“Who would have thought to connect these things and in such a unique way? This is going to help a lot of students visualize, in 3D, in a way they could not do before,” said Weinstein.
Barlow uses a series of models for his math course, Boundary Value Problems. 3D-printed models are designed in MATLAB illustrating multiple dimensions—height, speed, time—variables used when solving differential equations. Students view model sequences of individual, three-dimensional features representing a comprehensive view of the solutions over time. Students pair boundary conditions with the printed objects or assemble a series of models to illustrate different physical concepts.
“3D printing is probably the most novel method for bringing thought to life,” he said.
Weinstein agreed. “To do the kind of math that we do, we have to visualize the entire shape of a space in order to come to some conclusions about math that is very esoteric, yet practical. You can’t visualize time, but when you stretch out time in this way, you can visualize it as something like a 3D objectâ€©. Isn’t that wicked?”
June 18, 2019
Students combine hardware and attacking skills at cybersecurity competition
A team of RIT students from different computing disciplines came together last semester to place third in the 2019 MITRE Collegiate eCTF (embedded capture-the-flag) cybersecurity competition.
June 18, 2019
A 'Ghost Galaxy' May Have Given the Milky Way Its Signature Swirl
Though direct observational evidence of Antlia 2 was not obtained until last year, one scientist has had a decade-long hunch that it was there. Sukanya Chakrabarti, an astrophysicist at RIT predicted in 2009 that an object packed with dark matter was causing tidal effects at the edge of the Milky Way.
June 14, 2019
Scientists detected signs of our Milky Way colliding with another 'ghost' galaxy
Antlia 2, the "ghost of a galaxy" orbiting the Milky Way, is a dark horse in more ways than one. Not only is it so faint it was only just discovered last year, it may now be responsible for curious ripples in the hydrogen gas that makes up the Milky Way's outer disc.
June 12, 2019
New evidence shows crash with Antlia 2 gave the Milky Way the ripples in its outer disc
The newly-discovered dark dwarf galaxy Antlia 2’s collision with the Milky Way may be responsible for our galaxy’s characteristic ripples in its outer disc, according to a study led by Assistant Professor Sukanya Chakrabarti. The Antlia 2 dwarf galaxy was discovered from the second data release of the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission, which aims to chart a three-dimensional map of our galaxy.