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Turbulence: Finding Order in Chaos | Neil Ashton | TEDxOxford

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Published on Apr 29, 2016

It defines the shape of the cars we drive and the planes we fly on, yet it remains largely invisible. You can see it in the plume of a cigarette or your breath on a cold morning. Turbulence is all around of us but for many the word turbulence is largely associated with a bumpy flight. Neil will introduce you to the chaotic side of nature that remains one of physics greatest unsolved mysteries. The famous physicist Werner Heisenberg, a key pioneers of quantum mechanics, said on his deathbed ‘When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first’.

Neil discusses how our understanding of turbulence is enabling us to unravel some of the mysteries of nature. We learn how the flipper of a humpback whale inspired the look of one of the latest F1 cars, and why golf balls have dimples. By using some of the biggest supercomputers in the world, our knowledge of turbulence is bringing a new era of discovery.


Dr Neil Ashton CEng is a researcher at the University of Oxford’s e-Research Centre and currently a visiting scholar at NASA Ames Research Centre. An ex-F1 engineer, his work now focuses on how major car manufacturers, aerospace companies and even surgeons can use simulation tools to better understand turbulence and bring about new innovative designs.
He has given invited talks on his research to NASA, Boeing & Formula 1 teams and is a regular contributor to international science magazines.
Twitter: Dr_NeilA
Website: http://www.neilashton.co.uk

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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