Senior Projects 16

Math 459, Senior Seminar
Name: Katie Zirkel
Title: Is Terminal Velocity a Lifesaving Factor?
Source: Lyle N. Long and Howard Weiss, How Terminal Is Terminal Velocity?, The American
Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 113, No. 9, (2006), 752-755.
Senior Project Ideas:
1. According to the Clay Mathematics Institute, “Mathematicians and physicists believe that an
explanation for and the prediction of both the breeze and the turbulence can be found through
an understanding of solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations.” A fairly difficult senior project
would be to explore this and other applications of the Navier-Stokes equations, including the
ways in which they can be approximated, like the example in this presentation.
2. A medium to somewhat easy senior project would be to explore different methods for
approximating terminal velocity. For example this presentation gave an example of both a poor
and a decent approximation. Explore the differences in these approximations and why one is
better than the other, and attempt to find an approximation of your own.
3. Another somewhat difficult but interesting senior project would be to look at these authors’
other paper from the American Mathematical Monthly, “The Velocity Dependence of
Aerodynamic Drag” and study the discussion of the Reynolds number. From there, the project
could explore different applications of this number such as how it can be used to model pollen
dispersion and how raindrops fall.