The 2012 Popejoy Dissertation Prize has been awarded to Mike Anderson. The award, which was established as a permanent memorial to late UNM President Tom L. Popejoy, recognizes and encourages the highest level of academic excellence among doctoral students.
Anderson performed groundbreaking research bridging experimental and computational fluid dynamics in a developing area of high-speed compressible multiphase flow. He participated in state-of-the-art experiments, but more importantly, he performed numerical simulations of the experiments that made it possible for his research group to develop a physical understanding of experimental data, which led to the discovery of a hydrodynamic instability mechanism provisionally named "generalized Rayleigh-Taylor and Richtmyer-Meshkov instability" or "particle-lag instability."
His work was published in "Physical Review Letters," along with refereed proceedings of two international conferences in 2011, and will lead to three more publications to be submitted in 2012. Anderson's mentor, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Peter Vorobieff, says "Mike's contribution to our research group sheds light on the physics behind many phenomena - from vortices rolling up in interstellar dusty plasma accelerated by a shock from a supernova explosion to enhanced mixing of fuel droplets in a scramjet or a chemical laser. In addition, his involvement in our project was a perfect combination of individual (computational) and teamwork (experiment), and helped develop ties between UNM and a local hi-tech company (ARA)."
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