Intensive Lectures on Combustion - 2nd Annual Princeton-CEFRC Summer School

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011

On June 26, 2011, 140 students and professionals flocked to Princeton to attend the second annual Princeton-CEFRC Summer School on Combustion – a lecture series that comprised of three 15-hour, all-day, advanced courses in combustion science. The 110 graduate students and 30 professionals came from 25 states across the U.S., six foreign countries (Canada, China, France, Mexico, Sweden, and the UK), representing 56 institutions.

The program, which ran from June 26 to July 1, was organized by the CEFRC and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with additional support from the Army Research Office (ARO) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The three courses offered were Combustion Theory, Combustion Chemistry, and Advanced Laser Diagnostics, taught respectively by the eminent combustion scientists Professor Moshe Matalon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Michael J. Pilling of the University of Leeds, UK, and Professor Marcus Aldén of Lund University, Sweden. The academic program was conducted at an accelerated pace, with daily three-hour lectures on Combustion Chemistry in the morning, followed by parallel lectures on Combustion Theory and Advanced Laser Diagnostics in the afternoon.

The program kicked off on Sunday afternoon, as participants arrived on campus and embarked on a tour of the combustion labs of Professors Dryer, Ju, and Law. The lab tour was followed by a welcome and orientation barbecue, fittingly held in the courtyard of the Engineering Quadrangle, with the enchanted early evening ambiance enlivened with sparkling white lights strung among the tree branches and tiki torches lining the walkways.

Following the successful living arrangement of last year’s program, the majority of the participants stayed in air-conditioned dormitory rooms on campus, and shared their meals in the cafeteria. This arrangement allowed the participants to conduct their professional and social networking beyond the classroom. Particularly memorable group activities included informal tours of the Princeton campus as well as impromptu sporting and social activities in the evenings. The week ended with a farewell dinner on Friday evening in the spacious atrium of the newly constructed chemistry building, followed by viewing the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks from the university stadium.

Judging from the enthusiastic feedback of the attendees, the Combustion Summer School was again a great success. We have received many enthusiastic feedbacks and thoughtful suggestions for future sessions. For example, Wenjun Li, a returning student from North Carolina State University who was in the Combustion Chemistry and Advanced Laser Diagnostics classes wrote, ―Prof. Pilling’s lectures were easy to understand and appreciate, making the class very enjoyable. His lectures covered a wide range of areas which gave us a broad overview picture.... Prof. Aldén did a beautiful job of including great images and animation in his slides, and providing good scientific insight into his lecture notes… he really considered the audience’s background so that he explained things very clearly and was able to bring everyone into the exciting laser techniques. Julius Corrubia, a graduate student from Drexel University wrote, ―… the Combustion Theory course spanned a wide range of topics from governing equations for reacting flows to laminar flames and then finally turbulent flame theory and modeling… This was great for me because it allowed me to see some new material while also getting a different perspective on material I have learned before…Dr. Matalon was great at providing the theoretical back-ground to many of the topics we learned and he was very helpful with questions.

Now in its second year, the Combustion Summer School reflects a deep unmet demand for what is perhaps the biggest challenge in securing the nation's energy future, according to Chung Law, Princeton's Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Director of the CEFRC: "We have tapped into a powerful need… What we offer these students is a wonderful opportunity to pull together disparate areas of engineering and science needed to make a real difference for the world's energy future. Our guest lecturers are internationally renowned experts in combustion science as well as powerful and inspiring lecturers. The lectures have no doubt enriched the knowledge base of the participants and, in due time, will impact the progress of combustion and energy science through fundamental discoveries.

The lecture notes are available on the CEFRC website. The full lecture video content of the 2011 Combustion Summer School will soon be available on the CEFRC website and through iTunes U.