Sunday, March 2, 2008


My work has made me a bit more aware of the current state of science in America and the rest of the world. So far my contributions are small in the scheme of things, but they have given me the opportunity to observe how others are contributing. When I go to conferences I'm always left with a frustrated feeling because typically only one or two presentations seem novel, pertinent, or non trivial. Students latch on to their professor's work which may or may not be important. They end up making a career out of work that no one will care about.

I'm not the best researcher out there. My abilities are always growing, but I can't say that they will ever be as great as I would like them. Like I said, my contributions are small so far, but then again, I'm still just starting out. In time I expect to be a significant contributor. I see a great need for CFD, but I also see an over-reliance on it. By using the "black box" engineering technique the researcher loses all physical concept of the problem. Even if he programs the computations himself, it is still just mindless math unless he formulated the problem as well. I'm fortunate enough to be brought up as an analytical researcher. The trade off is a gain in physical reasoning, but a serious complication in solving problems with significant complexities. Many problems can only be solve computationally. Some can be solved with a combination of the two.

The buzzword around the propulsion community is "instability." It is an ominous word to those who know what it is. The important part for propulsion is simply explained as an observed growth in pressure oscillations and mean pressure. There are a number of mechanisms to create this phenomenon. It's amazing though, every rocket designer builds a rocket with all the best specifications and are shocked when the flow is unstable. It's almost guaranteed to happen. Expect it, plan for it as best you can, but expect it.

The following poem makes me sound like I'm blasting NASA. I do mean to poke fun at them for some stupid things they have been doing for the last 60 years, but understand that I think they are showing promise. I also make some bold statements. In case Big Brother is reading, I'm well aware that the problem is not so easily solved. I also think the right people are working on the problem now.

This poem is loosely based on Oh Captain, My Captain by Walt Whitman

Oh NASA my NASA! The journey has begun,

The shuttle has failed, the funding has bailed, the ARIES project won.

The moon is right to set our site, the daunting task ahead.

Been done before, now we want more, but documents lay shred.

Oh NASA my NASA! How much you waste to save,

Projects canceled to save the hassle, took back are funds you gave.

The tools were here for 60 years, yet common sense still slips

Bald heads ponder and weak minds wander, yet no one comes to grips.

Oh NASA my NASA! What makes the rockets blow?

And eyes that jiggle and structures that wiggle, when flight command says go?

The flow's unstable but you're not able to figure out just why,

But if you read and used your head, you'd find the work you buy!

Oh NASA my NASA! Don't reinvent the wheel!

People are jeering and countries are sneering expecting you to fail!

But you can prevent your imminent death, just scan the pasts research,

Or come to me, I'll do it for free, and show you what will work!

to continue the poetic theme...

and now, a deep thought

-I was once told, the sky is blue,

-The oceans, the lakes, and some rivers too!

-But what would I see from your point of view?

-Would blue still be blue, or a different hue?

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