Flow visualization is the process of making the physics of fluid flows visible. The results are fascinating and often visually stunning. I teach an unusual course on flow vis, and am doing research on the impact it has on students.
The Flow Visualization course is designed for mixed teams of engineering and fine arts photography and video students at the University of Colorado, but anybody who has paid attention to the patterns while stirring milk into coffee or stared at the curl of a rising tendril of smoke has participated in flow visualization, and will understand the purpose of this course. The course website has resources for teachers and students of all levels, as well as amazing images that anyone can enjoy.
Developing and teaching this course has been the most profound experience of my career. Course alumni write to me years later with links to amazing flow visualizations, and tell me how often they notice fluid flows in the world around them. Believe me, nobody from my traditional content courses on Thermodynamics or Fluid Mechanics writes to me ever, even though I think I bring equal passion to teaching them, including cool visualizations.
What is so juicy about Flow Visualization? What aspect of the course is permanently changing the way students view the world? Read more