CIVL grad student wins prestigious Cambridge Fellowship

UBC Civil Engineering PhD candidate Anirban Guha received the prestigious 2013 David Crighton Fellowship from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge. The award will support Guha to study and conduct research in Cambridge for two to three months, covering his travel and subsistence expenses up to £3,600 (approximately $5600 CDN).

PHOTOUBC Civil Engineering PhD candidate Anirban Guha recipient of the 2013 David Crighton Fellowship.

With the award, Guha will be working with Prof. Peter Haynes, Head of DAMTP at Cambridge to study chaotic advection in atmospheric flows. The study will pertain to the stratospheric polar vortex – a giant cyclone located in the stratosphere at each of the earth’s poles – and its waves, dynamics and chaotic processes, which influence our weather and climate. Guha focuses on problems relating to physical oceanography and atmospheric physics, which concern fluids at high velocity as they become turbulent

“My research shows two seemingly different natural processes, like lake seiches or standing waves, and mid-latitude cyclones, arise from very similar physical laws,” Guha says. “Being a scientist by passion and a nature-lover by character, I am fascinated by the underlying connection between diverse phenomena occurring in natural flows.”

He hopes to better understand different physical phenomena pertaining to natural flows; be it rivers, lakes, estuaries, oceans, and even planetary atmospheres, as these flows all obey comparable physical laws, mathematical descriptions and flow features.

These phenomena significantly impact our weather and climate patterns; likewise climate change can disturb the existing balance in flow physics. A thorough understanding of the atmosphere and oceans are crucial – not to mention the implications of their changes – in order to develop climate models and weather prediction systems. An understanding of the flow phenomena can help mitigate disasters by predicting when a tsunami will hit the shore, the route hurricane will follow or the larger impacts of sea level rise.

His work while largely theoretical, takes a multi-disciplinary approach. It is his diverse background – with training in environmental and mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, and atmospheric and ocean sciences – which allow him to establish unique connections.

Guha works under the supervision of Prof. Greg Lawrence and is also affiliated with the UBC Institute of Applied Mathematics. Guha intends to defend his dissertation in May 2013 and visit Cambridge’s DAMTP during the summer of 2013.

Guha is the recipient of the 2013 Earl R. Peterson Memorial Scholarship, for his strong academic standing and work on water resources. He is also the recipient of a UBC Faculty of Applied Science Graduate Award and earned a four-year fellowship from UBC from 2009– 2012.

The David Crighton Fund was set up in memory of the late Professor David Crighton, FRS, to provide support for young scholars in the subfield of applied mathematics concerned with fluid mechanics, acoustics, waves and vibration. Up to four David Crighton Fellowships are offered for research students and postdoctoral fellows.

For more information on Guha’s research see here.


ErinRose Handy

UBC Faculty of Applied Science