Prosperetti gives Fall 2021 Soo Distinguished Lecture


Andrea Prosperetti and Tony Jacobi
Soo Distinguished Lecturer Andrea Prosperetti and Department Head Tony Jacobi. 

The twenty-second Yunchuan Aisinjioro-Soo Distinguished Lecture featured Professor Andrea Prosperetti, the Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and Berkhoff Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Prosperetti’s lecture, “Taylor Bubbles: Faster, Dangerous, Unstable,” focused on the three aspects of so-called Taylor bubbles, large volumes of gas rising in vertical tubes. Prosperetti demonstrated his finding of considerable acceleration of the rise velocity of Taylor bubbles within a tube. He then explained the blow-out phenomenon responsible for many disasters in offshore drilling such as the Deepwater Horizon Macondo explosion in 2010.  The mechanism underlying these phenomena is explained in physical terms supported by numerical simulations based on the drift-flux model.  Finally, he described the instability of the axial symmetry of Taylor bubbles in a vertical tube when exposed to a liquid downflow and the role of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability in the process.

Prosperetti spent several decades at Johns Hopkins University as the C.A. Miller Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, with a part-time appointment as Berkhoff Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. 

Soo family, Jacobi, Prosperetti
David Soo, Shirley Soo, MechSE Professor Taher Saif, Department Head Tony Jacobi, and Professor Andrea Prosperetti. 

His scientific interests center on multiphase flow, with a particular focus on bubble dynamics, averaged equations, and resolved simulations of particulate flows.  He has authored/co-authored over 250 journal paper and two books. Prosperetti earned his PhD from Caltech in 1974, and he is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering.

“This lecture is to honor the late Professor Shao Lee Soo, and I thought that was appropriate because, while I wasn’t a direct student of Professor Soo, I cut my teeth on his work. He played quite a significant role in my own career as I was very familiar with his published research and his books. So presenting this lecture is an honor for me and I am very grateful to the department for inviting me,” said Prosperetti.

The lectureship was established in 1992 by Professor Shao Lee and Mrs. Hermia Soo to perpetuate the memory of Shao Lee’s mother, Yunchuan Aisinjioro-Soo (1899-1991). Born Princess Shansji of Aisinjioro, the last Royal House of China, she took the pen name Yunchuan and became an accomplished poet and artist. Throughout the turmoil of revolution and war, she steadfastly believed that the way for the family to serve the people is through the education of its children.

MechSE was honored to have in attendance at the lecture Professor and Mrs. Soo’s son David Soo, daughter Shirley Soo, and her husband Matt.