The Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, California Institute of Technology
Cand. aer. Patrick S. Wang
From November 2012 to July 2013, I was invited to write my Diplom thesis at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the field of experimental fluid mechanics. Caltech lies in the city of Pasadena, roughly 15 km northeast of Los Angeles. It is a small private institution with roughly 900 undergraduate and 1200 graduate students with a focus on science and engineering. The emphasis of my research was the visualization and analysis of flow on a concave surface in a hypersonic wind tunnel. I really enjoyed my stay at Caltech, not only in terms of academics and research, but also due to the events organized by the Aerospace Department and Graduate Student Council. In the spring of 2013, I visited the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the space transport company SpaceX, attended a talk given by Professor Stephen Hawking and even met the famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Furthermore, there were weekly talks given by students and staff in the Aerospace Department.
From my experience, I can only encourage students to either spend a semester or write one of their theses abroad. The research at Caltech has taught me so much and given me plenty of new insights on how to approach problems in the thermal and fluid sciences. In addition, I made many new friends along the way. I thank the Hermann-Reissner Stiftung for their support in giving me this amazing opportunity to spend seven months performing exciting research in California.