Ph.D. candidate Huan Liu awarded the Drinkward Postdoctoral Fellowship

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/15/2024)—The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics (AEM) is proud to announce that fifth-year Ph.D. student Huan Liu is the recipient of the 2024 Cecil and Sally Drinkward Postdoctoral Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Upon graduation this fall, Liu will begin her studies at Caltech mentored by Prof. Kaushik Bhattacharya, the Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science, and Vice-Provost. The fellowship encourages her to interact broadly with faculty in the College of Engineering.

Liu, who joined the Department in the Spring of 2020, began working with Prof. Richard D. James to study topics relating to mechanics and materials science. She is particularly interested in using mathematical theory to discover the behavior of materials and structures that intuition cannot discover alone. This grew from her fascination with curved origami design. 

“Mathematically and aesthetically, I am attracted by the beauty of origami. Folding (paper) on some Sunday afternoons has been one of my most enjoyable moments. Then we considered applying origami design to engineering aspect in a meaningful way, and this inspired my work on the design of a high-performance vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT),” said Liu. 

When asked about her time and experiences with AEM and Prof. James, Liu responded, “I am so lucky to have Prof. James as my advisor. He shaped my taste in research and taught me, by example, how to learn and think, and how to propose problems and solve problems. His happy disposition also influences me a lot in my attitude toward life. In the group I always feel pleasant, fulfilled, and encouraged.”

Liu is looking forward to her time at Caltech. She plans to take full advantage of the opportunity to enhance and expand her research strength and use her expertise to contribute to interesting problems in mechanics and material science.

Congratulations, Huan! AEM wishes you the best at Caltech! 

Huan Liu
Huan Liu