Statement of Purpose “Physicists come and go but the problem of turbulence remains. ” ———- A. Liebchaber Career plans and long-term goals… The “teraflops” supercomputers will become common over the next decade and with the advent of a new era in the world of parallel programming, the long cherished dream of the scientific community to get a substantially deep insight into the hitherto uncanny world of turbulence will at last take a realistic shape.
The desire to become a part of this revolution, to collectively tackle the challenge expressed in the comment on top, has motivated me to opt for a career in research in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics. In the long-term, I want to take up an exacting position, either in the academia or the industry, where I can do independent research on fundamentally challenging and technically demanding problems with an immediate relevance to the everyday world. Bearing these long-term goals in mind, my immediate objective is to work towards an M.
S. leading to Ph. D. , whose importance in laying a strong foundation for a successful career in research is paramount. What I want to contribute… A thorough understanding of the basic nature of turbulence and the fundamental principles governing it is at the heart of numerous key issues facing the present day scientists and engineers. But our extremely limited knowledge of this classical bete noire becomes a severe handicap when we try to address those issues.
With this in mind I am determined to carry out research in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics, as it (CFD) will help us in remarkably improving our comprehension of turbulence science. Further, I also wish to work on the control of turbulence because I reckon that one may not be able to predict the direction of the wind but one can certainly control one’s sails. What I mean is that turbulence will always remain, just that we will have to use our understanding of turbulence to develop innovative controls that will decrease or increase turbulence, as the requirement may be.
While I will try to delve into turbulence, I also wish to apply the existing knowledge to control it. We just can’t afford to wait, as we are running out of fuel! What I have… I believe that the fruitful past academic and research experiences I have had, the present grooming I am going through and a focused and determined approach towards future are the main ingredients of my recipe for success in my long-term goals. Consistently the overall topper at school, I derived a special kind of pleasure from the world of mathematics and nurtured it as a hobby and not merely as a part of academics.
My love for mathematics won kudos when I topped the Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO) from my region in class 9th (RMO is normally written in 11th standard) and went on to get 12th rank at the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO) the same year, thus becoming the youngest Indian to get the INMO Award (INMO is just one level below the International Mathematical Olympiad, IMO). To add to my good academic performance, I have background in doing research work, whose invaluable experience should help me in my academic and research pursuits in the graduate school.
At college my research interests were kindled when I got an opportunity to work on “Design of Disassembly” under Prof. M. K. Tiwari. Based on the efforts of the group a paper titled “Disassembly Sequence Generation: A Petri Net Based Heuristic Approach” has been communicated to the International Journal of Production Research (IJPR) (refer resume for details). The project acquainted me with the research-oriented approach and the success fostered in me a keen desire to further explore and excel on the research front.
In the summers after the junior year I joined an industrial consultancy project “Cryo-treatment of cutting tools and its effects on wear resistance” under the aegis of the Cryogenic Engineering Center, IIT Kharagpur. Working on the project exposed me to the complexities of a real life industrial project besides honing my computational and experimental skills. Currently I am working on my senior year project on “Design and Fabrication of Thermal Mass Flow Meters for laminar and turbulent flows” under the guidance of Prof.
Sunil Kumar Sarangi (refer resume for details). During my work, the interactions with fellow researchers and senior investigators have not only helped me crystallize my fundamentals and further widen my horizons of understanding real life problems and then in molding them into suitable mathematical models for simulation and analysis using CFD (we are using a lot of CFD for modeling our system) but they have also effectively taught me the importance of collaborative work.
On delving deeper into CFD I realized the tremendous importance and numerous applications it has, right from hypersonic aircrafts to the flow of blood in the ventricles. The immense computational and mathematical skills needed for CFD are indeed very challenging, and compatible with my abilities and so I have decided to specialize in CFD. Why Stanford… Stanford University has one of the topmost ranked graduate programs in Mechanical Engineering in terms of experienced faculty and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Of particular interest to me is the high quality fundamental and pioneering research being done at the Center for Turbulence Research (CTR) and the Center for Integrated Turbulence Simulation (CITS) for significantly advancing the understanding of turbulence physics. My special interest in CFD, therefore, makes Stanford University a very coveted place for graduate studies. I am sure that a chance to work at these centers of excellence would give me an in-depth understanding of the challenges involved in turbulence physics and would also provide me with a golden opportunity to make original contributions to my field of interest.
I firmly believe that I am well equipped with the necessary technical skills and adequately prepared for the kind of dedication and resolve I will have to show in such demanding research environment as the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford offers to its graduate students. I strongly believe that graduate studies at Stanford would be an important step towards realizing my career and research goals. Varun Rai