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David M. Van Wie, PhD, will present “Hypersonics: Back to the Future.”
Hypersonics is defined as flight at speeds above Mach 5—five times the local speed of sound. Currently, there is a resurgence of interest in hypersonic systems for applications such as weapons, rapid commercial transportation, and space launch. To realize these new applications, technology advancements are needed in the areas of novel thermal protection systems, high-temperature materials, advanced guidance, navigation and control, and propulsion. For more than 60 years, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have been investigating hypersonic technologies and applications, including Frederick S. Billig’s pioneering development of scramjet engine technology. Dr. Van Wie will offer a brief history of hypersonics highlighting Dr. Billig’s contributions and will discuss ongoing technology development challenges in this area.
Thao (Vicky) Nguyen will deliver a lecture titled “Biomechanics of the optic nerve head in glaucoma” as part of the Don P. Giddens Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series. Nguyen is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Marlin U. Zimmerman, Jr. Faculty Scholar.
Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by damage to the optic nerve axons and remodeling of the connective tissues in the optic nerve head. High pressure in the the eye is a major risk factor for the disease, and lowering this pressure is currently the only effective way to slow the disease’s progression. Nguyen seeks to understand the fundamental biomechanical mechanisms through which changes in the intraocular pressure alter the physiological function of cells and remodel the collagen structures of the optic nerve head. In this presentation, she will describe ongoing work to measure the deformation response of the cellular and connective tissue structures of the optic nerve head to pressure, characterize alterations with age and glaucoma, model the effects of structural variations on the deformation and stress response, and investigate the mechanisms through which stress can direct connective tissue growth and remodeling.
The Don P. Giddens Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series began in 1993 as a way to honor newly promoted full professors. Professor Giddens, originator of the series, served as the fifth dean of Engineering at Johns Hopkins.