I was (definitely) paying attention during my Instabilities and Turbulence class this morning (note that this is my only lecture in English) as the professor droned on about accretion disks and how they are stable according to the Rayleigh discriminant but have been observed to be turbulent blah blah blah…  He then started to talk really excitedly about new areas of research on the topic, namely where the said turbulence comes from.  Apparently the two main schools of thought are that this turbulence could result from sub-critical hydrodynamic instability or magneto-rotational instability (don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either.  Or maybe you should worry.  About me and this class…).  Anyways, the professor starts talking about how some well-known universities in France and Switzerland are currently conducting this research.  I didn’t know any of the universities he mentioned, and I guess I must have had a blank look on my face because he looked at me and said, “And you have some guys in the Maryland doing other stuff too.”

During the recitation section for the same class, the professor was leading us through some calculations in evaluating boundary conditions after linearizing the proper state equations.  He started to skip a couple steps so we flagged him down and asked him to go a bit more slowly.  At first, he responded that the steps are all in the lecture notes (which we receive in book form) and flipped through the chapter to find the correct page.  Then he realized the steps were actually not in the notes and proceeded to say that usually in books there is only sentence between the statement of the equations and the answer saying “from these general equations, it is easy to see…” but as a student you really need to work to see it (still the professor’s words there).  So what I get from this comment is that textbook writers totally know when they are screwing over the students and they do it anyways.  Thanks.

Advertisements