Paris - Part Deux

By Dr Donald Brown; Assistant Professor in Applied Mathematics

This summer I had the pleasure of being able to visit and present my research at a conference abroad. Due to the kind support of the GERC Early Career Development Fund, I was able to attend the 6th Poromechanics conference in Paris, France in July. This conference, held every four years (like the Olympic Games only for fluid-solid interactions in porous media). The main theme of this conference is to get experts across disciplines of engineering and mathematics that have common interests in understanding fluid-solid interactions in complex porous materials. This can be from GeoEnergy related applications of reservoir engineering and environmental fluid dynamics to construction materials such as bamboo or timber. The common theme being the multiscale nature of the materials and fluids in the pores having effects on the mechanical structures. Really fun stuff.  This is the second time I have been to Paris, however, my French (which is close to zero) was very rusty. This made for some awkward Bistro conversations. 

As the conference was at École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (University of Bridges and Roads roughly translated), I was able to see more of the east side of Paris. This side is much more local and less touristic, so I got a feel for how local Parisians live. The Gala Dinner, one of the good perks of being an academic, was held on a boat in the river Seine. If you have a chance, I would recommend this to anyone visiting Paris as a good way to eat great french cuisine and see all of the major sights. The cathedral of Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and Napoleons Tomb, all pass you buy as you eat (weird for Americans) french food such as escargot and foie gras. Sometimes it’s rough being an academic.  During these dinners we are able to discuss new ideas with old colleagues, network, and hopefully make new ones. 

So all and all it is a very productive conference, where I was also able to present some work I did with a very good Masters student at Nottingham. Jack Fellerman's topic for his MsC was on understanding the mathematical convergence of a multiscale problem in geomechanics. Roughly speaking, we wanted to prove that when you start at the pore-scale, and as you shrink the scales, that the model you obtain is a generalization of classical geomechanics, the so-called Biot Model. The question was a bit of a loose end from my thesis and over a few months we were able to solve it. We then subsequently submitted this work as a proceedings to this Poromechanics conference and it was accepted. Thus, I was able to enjoy another week in Paris. It will be a long four years before this conference happens again, but I look forward to it. 

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