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ME Associate Professor Awarded Department of Energy Early Career Research Program Funding

Jun 7, 2016

The Woodruff School’s Associate Professor Devesh Ranjan has been chosen to receive the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science financial award for Early Career Research Programs. Ranjan was selected by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, one of the DOE’s Office of Science’s six major program offices, for his research topic “Discoveries in Blast-Wave-Driven Turbulence of Astrophysical Relevance.”

The DOE’s Office of Science has selected 50 scientists from across the nation – including 22 from DOE’s national laboratories and 28 from U.S. universities – to receive significant funding for research as part of the DOE’s Early Career Research Program. The effort, now in its seventh year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. Research topics are required to fall within one of the Department’s Office of Science’s six major program offices: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR); Basic Energy Sciences (BES); Biological and Environmental Research (BER); Fusion Energy Sciences (FES); High Energy Physics (HEP); and Nuclear Physics (NP).

“We invest in promising young researchers early in their careers to support lifelong discovery science to fuel the nation’s innovation system,” said Cherry Murray, director of DOE’s Office of Science. “We are proud of the accomplishments these young scientists already have made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come.”

Ranjan’s proposed experimental work will provide the first ever, turbulence statistics data for blast-wave driven RT in diverging systems. The goal is to provide a database of high-resolution experimental measurements and analysis that assist modeling efforts in both the local and international flow physics communities. The high-fidelity measurements generated in the experiments will necessarily constrain the physics-based models used in simulations by testing them under more realistic conditions, and outside of the isotropic turbulence regime for which many models were designed.

This work aims to address the question of “How do we use HED hydrodynamic experiments to clarify the behavior of astrophysical flows?” posed in the 2009 workshop report on Basic Research Needs for High-Energy-Density Laboratory Physics. Exploring these hydrodynamics in cylindrical and spherical geometries is vital to our understanding of their role in astrophysical phenomena (Supernovae) and fusion energy (Inertial Confinement Fusion). The Principal Investigator envisions that successful completion of this project will have a transformative impact on society’s understanding of blast-wave driven variable-density turbulence.

Ranjan has been an associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech since July 2014. His research program focuses on the mixing of materials at extreme conditions, the physics of hydrodynamic instabilities, and advanced power conversion cycles –research efforts which can potentially lead to advances in a number of fields including energy, environment, and inertial confinement fusion devices. He earned a bachelor's degree from NIT-Trichy (India) in 2003, master's and Ph.D. degrees from UW-Madison in 2005 and 2007 respectively, all in mechanical engineering, and was previously a Director's Research Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2008) and Morris E. Foster Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Texas A&M University (2009-2014). He is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the U.S. AFOSR Young Investigator Award and was named J. Erskine Love Jr. Faculty Fellow in 2015.

Early Career Research Program awardees were selected from a large pool of university and national laboratory-based applicants and selection was based on peer review by outside scientific experts. To be eligible for the DOE award, a researcher must be an untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professor at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory having received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years. A list of the 50 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is appended and is also available on the Early Career Research Program webpage http://science.energy.gov/early-career/.