With the nomination period for the 2020 Batchelor Prize coming to a close at the end of the month (31st May 2019), Dr Tom Crawford spoke to the previous winners to find out more about the legacy of the award.

Howard Stone, 2008 Batchelor Prize Winner

“I can still remember getting the award letter in my mail box and opening it while standing in the hall. I read the letter twice to be sure I understood it.”

Howard’s pioneering work in microfluids covered a wide range of topics from understanding the ‘slip’ boundary condition to foam drainage and surfactant effects. The selection committee cited his ‘remarkable capacity to devise and analyse simple model problems which lead to important fundamental understandings and practical applications using theoretical computational and experimental methods’.

“Obviously, this kind of award from your peers means a lot. It also inspires me to continue to give back to the community and to promote others for awards, especially because our community has many who are deserving of recognition because of their research, educational or mentoring contributions.”

Detlef Lohse, 2012 Batchelor Prize Winner

“I was of course overwhelmed and very happy about the appreciation of our work by the fluid dynamics community. And I was very thankful to all my colleagues, postdocs, and PhD students with whom I have had the privilege to collaborate and who of course contributed tremendously.”

Detlef’s passion for fluid mechanics can be seen in the vast array of problems on which he has worked: bubble sonoluminescence, turbulent convection and multiphase flow to name but a few. His use of innovative laboratory experiments, coupled with theoretical and numerical calculations, has provided fascinating insight into the underlying physics of some of the most difficult problems in fluid mechanics.

Reflecting on the effect receiving the prize would have on his research, Detlef said, “We tried to do good fluid dynamics research before and we try to continue to do so after – in this sense I think not much has changed. It would also be strange, if things changed, right?”

Ray Goldstein, 2016 Batchelor Prize Winner

“I was both shocked and thrilled, but ultimately immensely pleased that the work of my group had been recognised at such an international level.”

Ray’s ground-breaking work on active matter fluid mechanics draws inspiration from biology, for example understanding the collective behaviour in bacterial suspensions, the synchronisation of flagella in eukaryotic cells and the surface interactions of swimming micro-organisms. The extraordinary degree of experimental sophistication required to capture such behaviours is as much a challenge as the fluid mechanics itself.

“Since the early 2000s I had been pursuing a particular line of research that was very much motivated by biological questions. I firmly believed the work would have significant impact in the physical sciences as well, and ultimately it did. The award has helped to validate this kind of interdisciplinary approach and has encouraged me to continue along this path.”

Nominations for the 2020 Batchelor Prize are open until 31st May 2019. The prize carries a monetary reward of $25,000 and the awardee will have the opportunity to present their work at the 2020 ICTAM conference. Full details of the nomination process can be found on the official announcement page.

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