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Fluid Dynamics Studies

  1. Jul 15, 2008 #1
    Hello all,

    I'm interested in studying fluid dynamics as a profession but I'm uncertain as to what course of study I should pursue as an undergraduate. I've been thinking about taking my BA in mathematics and physics but due to the seemingly heavy computational nature of much of the work being done with fluids I'm also considering computer science. Also, being interested in the applied side of science I have the additional difficulty of trying to decide whether or not to major in mechanical engineering rather than in physics and math/CS. I really want to end up working with the study of fluids somehow - any suggestions on what might be the best path for me to take including the likelihood of my going to graduate school?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2008 #2
    The mathematicians study theoretical fluid mechanics, while the mechanical engineers do experimental fluid mechanics. Computational work is done in both fields.
  4. Sep 20, 2010 #3
    are there any physics or applied physics departments that has fluid dynamics as a research area? In particular CFD? It seems like its only done in ME/AE and applied math programs
  5. Sep 20, 2010 #4
    It's a difficult question because there are so many ways. One way of trying to figure out what to do is to try to figure out what you would want to do, it turns out that you couldn't do fluid dynamics, and then study that.
  6. Sep 20, 2010 #5
    It depends on the type of problems that you want to deal with in Fluid Dynamics. If you are interested in the industrial/applied aspects of fluid dynamics, such as pipe lines, external aerodynamics, turbo-machinery, etc... then you would benefit from having a degree in mechanical engineering. If you are interested in the more fundamental problems such as turbulence, combustion modeling, vortices, etc.. then perhaps a degree in physics/math could help you more.

    Having said that, I personally believe there is a high degree of flexibility. It's not unusual to see a physics graduate working in industrial fluid dynamics or a mechanical engineering graduate doing his PhD in turbulent flames.
  7. Sep 20, 2010 #6
    I did my undergraduate in pure math and physics and am a graduate student in oceanography. In particular, I study waves and vortices. Although I never explicitly saw this material as undergrad, my training made the transition fairly painless.

    In general, I feel as if you should keep the scope of your undergrad studies as broad as possible and keep the specialization for grad school.
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