Many people are familiar with turbulent flows from their own experience, for example from a stormy fall walk or from a flight to their vacation destination. However, turbulence also plays an important role in the formation of rain, electrical power fluctuations in wind farms or mixing processes in the atmosphere and the oceans. Unfortunately, turbulent flows are still difficult to calculate and predict today. This is a consequence of the highly chaotic motion of vortices of various sizes, which has fascinated physicists, mathematicians and engineers for hundreds of years and poses great mathematical and practical challenges.
Better understanding of turbulent flows
Within the scope of the ERC Consolidator Grant, the team headed by Michael Wilczek will use modern simulation methods and new theoretical approaches to gain a better understanding of turbulent flows. "In particular, we would like to learn to better predict turbulence statistically. To do this, we need to develop new methods that combine statistical theory and simulations on supercomputers," says Michael Wilczek. "If we can statistically capture turbulent dynamics, we no longer have to calculate all the details in a time-consuming and costly manner. Simple models with a wide range of applications could then follow from this. In the long term, such models can help us, for example, to better describe the formation of rain or the dispersion of pollutants in our atmosphere.”
About Michael Wilczek
Michael Wilczek studied physics at the University of Münster and completed his PhD thesis in 2011. After a research stay at the renowned Johns Hopkins University he returned to Germany in 2014. Since 2015 he is heading the Max Planck Research Group “Turbulence, Complex Flows and Active Matter” at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization.
About the European Research Council and ERC Consolidator Grants
Since 2007, the European Commission has been funding innovative research projects by outstanding scientists through the European Research Council (ERC). Scientists and scholars between seven and twelve years after their doctorate can apply for the ERC Consolidator Grant. In this year's competition for the ERC Consolidator Grant, a total of 2506 applications were received, of which 327 will be funded with a total amount of 655 million Euros.