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Where Math Meets Pluto

18 Dec 2015, 07:56 UTC
Where Math Meets Pluto
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Greetings and Salutations! I’m Dr. Orkan Umurhan, a scientist on New Horizons’ Geology and Geophysics Investigation (GGI) Team. This is my first blog entry about my experiences on this most excellent mission. Over the upcoming months and years I intend to share the scientific questions I work on pertaining to New Horizons, and I hope that you will find them as fascinating as I do.
But first, a little about myself: Although I’m on the GGI Team, I actually have a background in astrophysics with particular emphasis on astrophysical flows. I’ve done a lot of work on turbulence in protoplanetary disk environments, the very places where planets are known to form and grow. I have a lot of experience with extracting physical insights from complex flows. I really see myself more as a mathematical physicist. Some of my colleagues jokingly refer to me as the team’s “applied math mercenary,” a description that is not too far from the truth.
Just over two years ago, I was invited to join the New Horizons science team—probably being the last person to board the mission. While being both thrilled and honored to be involved, I wondered about how a scientist like me, who ...

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