Turbo Lab Post-Doc Researcher Earns 2020 Distinguished Graduate Student Award
In today’s society there are many different things one can do to help the environment; recycling, carpooling, and using reusable water bottles are all ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. But for Dr. Clayton R. Mulvihill, he is helping the planet by using lasers.
“Contrary to popular belief, combustion scientists are not evil and are not trying to
destroy the world,” laughed Mulvihill. “It’s quite the opposite. We are trying to reduce emissions and pollutants that harm the earth.”
Mulvihill is a mechanical engineering post-doctoral researcher and a member of the Petersen Research Group, where Dr. Eric Petersen, Turbomachinery Laboratory Director, Professor and holder of the Nelson-Jackson Chair, is his primary adviser.
Mulvihill was one of 18 graduate students selected to receive a Distinguished Graduate Student Award presented by The Association of Former Students. The awards were presented to the selected students for their exemplary accomplishments in one of two categories: research and teaching. The recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Student Award are given a framed certificate and custom gold watch from The Association. Mulvihill was presented with the award for his praiseworthy research in combustion with the Petersen Research Group.
“I was very surprised when I realized I had been awarded,” said Mulvihill. “I knew I had been nominated but I didn’t expect to get awarded.”
Mulvihill’s research focuses on understanding the rates at which chemical reactions take place. He and his group investigate this by using shock waves to create high-temperature environments. They then use laser diagnostics to measure how fast the chemical reactions are taking place.
“The results of our research are used in industry to predict and reduce the amount of combustion pollutants that come from devices such as gas turbines,” explained Mulvihill. Mulvihill’s interest in becoming a combustion scientist started out with a love of lasers, he explained. Coincidentally, his fascination with laser diagnostics just so happened to pair extremely well with Dr. Petersen’s research directions.
“I am extremely grateful to Dr. Petersen. He is just a phenomenal advisor,” said Mulvihill. “I feel like this award is almost more for him than it is for me, just because he is so great.”
As for the future, Mulvihill has accepted a post-doc position at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. He will be doing similar research there to what he does at the Turbo Lab. Mulvihill will begin his new position mid-June, but due to COVID-19 he will work remotely until it is deemed safe to move.
“I am going to miss the group, all the graduate students and research staff, a lot. They were all great to work with,” noted Mulvihill. “It is a very bittersweet thing going up to Argonne.”
For more information on the 2020 Distinguished Graduate Student Award and to the full list of recipients, visit https://www.aggienetwork.com/programs/awards/dgsa.aspx.
The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Turbomachinery Laboratory makes a vital impact on turbomachinery and related industries through research, education and professional workforce development.