Director, School of Engineering;
Interim Director, The Water Institute
Why I became an engineer:
My decision, as a teenager many years ago, to study engineering sprang from two essential sources.
The first was the experience of watching my dad, who was a toolmaker, working on these wondrous machines, those drills and saws and milling machines and lathes, turning ideas—expressed in drawings or just hand-drawn sketches—into intricate parts which then would be integrated into all sorts of fascinating mechanisms and devices that ended up solving various kinds of problems to make life easier for their users.
The other one was my fascination with the power of mathematics and physics. The former is an exact language that is essential to describe reality in precise terms, and thus indispensable to develop any kind of useful understanding of the latter. Physics is the science that allows us to comprehend how the world around us works, enabling us to model and predict the behavior of physical systems, both existing ones as well as new ones we conceive that have never existed before.
The ultimate goal for me has always been to obtain an understanding of the world that was deep enough to eventually provide the capacity to develop devices, mechanisms and systems to manipulate physical reality in order to solve problems or create new capabilities. It is this combination of mathematics and physics, both typical and unique for the art of engineering, which allows us to turn the objects of a Platonic world of ideas into functional matter in the form of engineered devices that help us make the world a better place.
I was awarded a Ph.D. for my work on low-dimensional models and chaos in boundary-layer transition from the University of Stuttgart, Germany in 1991, and finished my Habilitation in Fluid Mechanics at the same university in 1995. I received the Hermann-Reissner Award for Aerospace Engineering in 1992, and a Heisenberg Grant from the German DFG (Deutsche Forschungegemeinschaft) in 1995. My research interests include theoretical and applied fluid dynamics and turbulence; unsteady aerodynamics; applications of dynamical systems theory and numerical methods to problems in fluid mechanics.
- Symposium In Honor of John Lumley’s Legacy, 46th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, June 15, 2016, Washington, D.C.: Rational Control of Turbulent Boundary Layers – John Lumley’s Legacy
- Workshop on Industrial Applications of Low-Order Models Based on Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD), March 31–April 02, 2008, Bordeaux, France: Prediction of Complex Flows
- KOZAK, P., REMPFER, D. (2016)
Modeling Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Performance: Blade Element Method vs. Finite Volume Approach. Journal of Propulsion and Power 32 (3), pp. 592-601
- ZHOU, T., REMPFER, D. (2012)
Numerical study of detailed flow field and performance of Savonius wind turbines. Renewable Energy 51, pp. 373-381
- REMPFER, D. (2006)
On Boundary Conditions for Incompressible Navier-Stokes and Related Problems. Appl. Mech. Rev. 59, pp. 107–125.
- REMPFER, D. (2000)
On Low-Dimensional Galerkin Models for Fluid Flow. Theoret. and Comput. Fluid Dynamics 14 (2), pp. 75–88.
Contributed Conference Presentations:
- 66th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Mechanics, November 24-26, 2013, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Performance Optimization and Analysis of Variable-Pitch Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines.