17th ERCOFTAC Da Vinci Competition 2022 - Interview with Da Vinci Finalists

Mobin Alipour - finalist
of 17th Da Vinci Competition 2022

Mobin Alipour
(Yale University, Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science,
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science)


a) What is the topic of your Ph.D. thesis?

The topic of my Ph.D. thesis is the ''Orientation and Rotation rate of Non-axisymmetric Fibers in Turbulent Channel Flow''.

In this study, we focused on investigating the effect of shape asymmetry on the dynamics of the high aspect ratio fibers in a turbulent channel flow. Using high-speed imaging, we perform three-dimensional tracking of the fibers (their size is comparable to the Kolmogorov lengths scale) and provide statistics regarding their orientation and rotation rates.

b) What motivates you?

I work mainly on topics that involve experimental fluid dynamics. I’m curious to do experiments where numerical simulations are limited and experimental observations are crucial to improve our understanding. This could result in new models being used in simulations and improve the predictions.

My main motivation is the novelty of the research area and the need to develop new methodologies to perform those experiments. This challenges me and pushes me to continue being innovative in research.

c) What does the Da Vinci competition mean to you?

The Da Vinci Prize is a prestigious competition for recently graduated Ph.D. students and to be named as one of the top 5 finalists is a great honour. I remember when I was a junior Ph.D. student, I used to follow this competition. Now being at the final stage makes me very happy.

d) Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to stay in academia and one day start my own career as a young PI. Of course, this requires doing high-quality research and persistence. I hope within the next 5 years, I will be closer to achieving this goal.

e) What advice would you give to new Ph.D. students starting in fluid mechanics?

Fluid mechanics is still full of unresolved topics. I believe a Ph.D. student should explore as much as possible in their field - even those unrelated to their thesis. This will help them to have a broader vision regarding the topics that they would like to work on in their future academic career.


Date: ERCOFTAC Da Vinci Competition Final 2022: 6th October 2022
Hosted by Pilot Centre Henri BénardEcole Centrale de Lyon, Écully, France