Virginia Tech Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics Hassan Aref has been named the recipient of the G. I. Taylor Medal by the Society of Engineering Science. The award, made in recognition of Aref’s outstanding research contributions in fluid mechanics, will be presented at the society’s annual meeting held at Northwestern University on Oct. 12-14, 2011.

The Taylor Medal is presented on a very selective basis with no fixed schedule. The last one was presented in 2003.

Aref, the Reynolds Metals Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech, has also held a Niels Bohr Visiting Professorship at the Technical University of Denmark where he is part of a research environment headed by Tomas Bohr, a professor of physics. 

“Dr. Aref must be considered to be among the world’s foremost authorities on point vortex dynamics, a subject initiated by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1858 and continually developed by many of the great mechanicians and applied mathematicians of the 19th and 20th century,” said Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the engineering science and mechanics department

Aref’s contributions include “the re-discovery of the integrable three-vortex problem, identification of chaos in the four-vortex problem both in bounded and unbounded motions (so-called chaotic scattering), the first determination of asymmetric relative equilibria, and the very elegant solutions of the three-vortex problem in periodic domains,” Puri added.

One of Aref’s latest contributions, working with a recent Ph.D. student Johan Roenby at the Technical University of Denmark, was to shed new light on the chaotic motion of a solid body moving through a fluid while interacting with one or more point vortices. Their work led to the discovery of two basic mechanisms that lead to chaotic motion of the body as it interacts with its vortex wake. The work may lead to better understanding and control of real body-vortex interactions.

Aref and Roenby’s work appeared in the Feb. 24, 2010, issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, vol. 466 on pages1871-1891.

Additional testimony to Aref’s scholarly work is the more than 4,000 citations of his work, according to the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge.

In 2005 Aref, was one of 20 speakers from around the world invited to present at the Einstein Symposium at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. This symposium was organized to celebrate the declaration by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of 2005 as the World Year of Physics. Since then he has given invited lectures in Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Poland, The Netherlands, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Aref was associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 1984-94, founding editor with David G. Crighton of Cambridge Texts in Applied Mathematics, and today he serves on the editorial board of Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics, and as co-editor of Advances in Applied Mechanics. He has served on the editorial boards of Physics of Fluids, Physical Review E, and Regular and Chaotic Dynamics.

Aref has served as chair of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society. He has chaired the U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and has served on advisory boards for several professional societies, including the Society of Engineering Science that is bestowing the Taylor medal. He is currently secretary of the Congress Committee of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. He was a member of the National Academies Board on International Scientific Organizations (BISO). He served as secretary of the Midwest Mechanics Seminar, 1994-2003, and he was president of the 20th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics held in Chicago in 2000.

Share this story