Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I entered Particle Science & Technology (continues)

Dr. Brian Scarlett passed away on 2004 (send me an email if you want a special paper on him). I remember the day he announced he was going to go under treatment for cancer (2003), it was a surprise to me, but even more of a surprise that he passed away so quickly. I had just come on board the previous year and started working on photoelastic methods to determine stresses at the bottom of a photoelastic plate using a Jenike tester.
I was able to find an undergrad student to help me set up a polariscope, we were able to take some pictures, but the stresses were so small that the material barely registered something. I was able to find a manufacturer of photelastic material that had a very low Young's modulus, but from the preliminary tests it was obvious that determining the stresses from the images was going to be a tough task.
It is interesting to find that Dr. Scarlett had a great faith on photoelasticity, he conducted doctoral thesis on its application to powder flow, but for what we wanted to do, it was not going to work as expected.
I love optical methods for stress analysis, I would have stayed in the field if it weren't because of the large amount of people already in it, it so competitive it is hard to make any noticeable contribution. I especially like Moire and Speckle interferometry, using light to measure stresses is really exciting. At that time I knew I had to find a field where I could make a contribution and some impact. I had to put on hold my dreams of working on optical methods for stress analysis.
I am proud of having worked for him, I talked to him a couple of times and he was a man who could carry any conversation in any topic. He loved his students and he truly cared for them, I miss him, things would have been a little different for me if he was living today.

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