College of Engineering

Beautiful Patterns from the Atmosphere - Ocean Experiments

Late on a cold February night, students from Dr. Tandon's Physics 300 class, Undergraduate Seminar, were busily working on a fluids experiment. Their goal, to create fascinating Taylor columns, and ultimately understand the consequences of the Taylor-Proudman Theorem. In the first image, Eric Holmes, a junior physics major here at UMass Dartmouth, is seen adding potassium permanganate to a stationary table. The first image displays mixture due to typical molecular diffusion, which can be accelerated through the currents formed by advection, started by quickly dipping your hand into the water.

The second picture features the rotating table experiment. The swirls seen are a byproduct of the Taylor-Proudman theorem, which states there is 'stiffness' in the vertical direction, when rotating.

The third and fourth images, taken in March 2007, show Physics undergraduate students David Falta and Steve Murray working on post-processing of video clips taken from the Fronts experiment. The Macintosh computer and the associated hardware is provided by the Physics department as part of advanced laboratory improvement funds. The rotating table "weather in the lab" is provided to Dr. Tandon by MIT as part of an educational grant by the National Science Foundation to MIT and other partner universities. See for details.

Author: "Amit Tandon"
Date: 28-3-2007

Contact Info: