Day 8: Electrohydrodynamics

Random Observation/Comment #295: Getting a Masters in those extra few months was the best decision I’ve ever made. It delayed my conformation into the grown-up working 9-5 world, and made me thirst for knowledge with a zen balance of free time and focus.  After the credits were fulfilled, I used my time looking for ways to travel the world for as little money as possible – thus came the study abroad research projects and the true beginning to my life.

coronal discharge

Truth be told, I over-credited and crammed way too much learning into my Cooper schedule than could be retained in the long run.  I should have shown some restraint with the free education and just took my time to absorb and enjoy/explore/internalize the material.  It wasn’t a race or a competition – it was supposed to be fun and help you find yourself and your passions.

The Challenge:
Reread Master’s thesis work and try to explain it in a 5-minute speech summary.

The Reason:
I chose this challenge because I wanted to see how much I remembered from college and whether or not I could still be an engineer if I wanted to change my career path and go back into research.  If I’m reconsidering my impact on the world, I think applying my research to rocket propulsion would be high on the list of badass accomplishments.

The Result:
I spent a few hours reading through my thesis and some old papers, and then a few more hours reading the most recent research in the field.  After reading some of the new papers published on this, I’m happy to see my work has helped the field advance forward.

I’ve come to realize today that the Internet has much more rich information than cats wearing hats and jumping into cardboard boxes. If you’re interested in a subject, you can dive fairly deep without any university assistance.  Just learn to learn.

Here is my Master’s thesis on EHD: Clemens_Thesis_Final.pdf

Here is the IEEE paper Miroslav and I wrote about the application of EHD to hovercrafts: IEEE paper

The Conclusion:
You know you’re a geek when you spent a year studying and testing the distribution of fluid dynamics in high electric fields in the presence of coronal discharge.  And how relevant is this to what I do now?

If I did not do this challenge, I would say what I am doing now is in the complete opposite direction and my thesis work was only a test of organization and persistence. However, after reading through all this research, much of what I learned came back to me and I was able to grasp the new theories.  The process for relating this information (and internalizing it) is still ingrained in my engineering mind.  Those are the skills that make me confident enough to approach new problems.

This day of revisiting my geek-dom gives me an overwhelming sigh of relief that I’m still a geek.  To me, knowing this is a big deal.  Yes. Fist pump. I love being a geek.

~See Lemons Geeky