Professor Julian Domaradzki has been appointed Chair of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME). His three-year term began on July 1.
Domaradzki joined the AME department as an assistant professor in 1987 after working as a research scientist at Flow Industries, Inc. in Kent, Washington. He became an associate professor in 1991 and a professor in 1997 and served as associate chair from 2005 to 2008.
As chair, Domaradzki’s goals include providing support for assistant professors and cultivating faculty involvement.
“In general, I believe that the plans for the department are set by the faculty. I call it ‘collective wisdom’ of the faculty,” he said. “In academia, we move on a slightly different time scale than the outside world and I think it’s important that everybody feels that they can contribute.”
Domaradzki earned both a master’s and Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Warsaw in Poland, followed by postdoctoral positions at Princeton University and MIT, where his work focused on geophysical fluid dynamics and applied mathematics. At USC, he researches turbulence theory, turbulence modeling and numerical simulations of fluid flow. His work has been supported by organizations such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Department of Energy (DOE), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“I believe that the plans for the department are set by the faculty.”
He is currently working on a method to quantify the amount of error produced in numerical simulations of turbulent flows. As numerical error accumulates, it contaminates the results. However, if you knew how much error you are generating, you could either refine your system to produce less error, or use the error to your benefit.
“If you know what the error is, you could use it to actually help in simulations,” Domaradzki said. “What turbulence models often do is provide dissipation in the system. Numerical errors have the same effect, they provide dissipation, except that it’s usually unknown and unquantified.”
To date, he has supervised 15 doctoral theses, has received several awards and fellowships, and has been named fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Some of his most impactful work was the development of a new approach to turbulence modeling, called the estimation model.
Large or complex systems, like the Santa Monica Bay or the airflow around a plane, include an immense number of turbulent characteristics, from large whirlpools to small vortices. In order to perform a simulation on even the world’s largest computers, researchers typically replace all of the small-scale features with a general model that makes calculations much easier. Domaradzki, on the other hand, believed that you could make calculations just as easy, but more accurate, if you kept some of the small-scales.
“In our approach, we removed almost all small-scales, but we keep some as a buffer to interact in the equations with the larger-scales,” he said. “This provides a much better dynamical description of the interactions between large and small-scales.”
Domaradzki will succeed Professor Geoff Spedding, who was chair of the department for seven years. During his tenure, Spedding recruited 11 new faculty members, helped create new educational programs and led the department’s ABET accreditation.
In a memo to Viterbi faculty and staff, Dean Yannis C. Yortsos stated, “Please join me in thanking Geoff for his steady service over many years and in congratulating Julian on his appointment, as we work to further increase the excellence of the AME Department and all its dimensions.”