Chan receives NSF's CAREER Award

Award will help Chan develop new technologies for reliable simulations of fluid flow.

jesse chan

Jesse Chan, assistant professor of computational and applied mathematics (CAAM) at Rice University, has received a five-year, $449,907 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to develop new technologies for reliable simulations of fluid flow, which are central to scientific fields from environmental and aerospace engineering to solar physics.

Chan’s proposal is titled “Tailored Entropy Stable Discretizations of Nonlinear Conservation Laws.”

“Because they are simple and robust, classical methods from the 1950’s and 60’s are still used to produce most computational fluid simulations. In theory, newer numerical methods can produce higher fidelity simulations at lower computational costs, but they tend to be less stable and more likely to crash. We would like to change this,” Chan said.

Chan joined the Rice faculty in 2016. He earned a B.A. in CAAM from Rice in 2008, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in computational science, engineering and mathematics from the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas in Austin in 2013.

For two years Chan served as a Pfeiffer Postdoctoral Instructor in CAAM at Rice, and in 2015 went to work as a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at Virginia Tech, where his mentor was Tim Warburton, formerly a member of the CAAM department at Rice.

Currently, three graduate students take part in Chan’s NSF-funded projects and related research. “Mathematically speaking, we develop numerical methods which reproduce such physical laws as the dissipation of energy. However, our work involves both theoretical and practical considerations. Our goal is creating accurate, efficient and reliable simulations,” Chan said.

As part of his CAREER grant, Chan will also work with the Rice Office of STEM Engagement to create summer research programs for local K-12 teachers and community college students. These six-week programs will promote discovery-based learning of concepts in computational science.

CAREER awards support the research and educational development of young scholars likely to become leaders in their fields. The grants, among the most competitive awarded by the NSF, go to fewer than 400 scholars each year across all disciplines.