The Department of Mechanical Engineering (MECH) at Rice University has announced the arrival of Geoff Wehmeyer as a new assistant professor. His innovative research focuses on fundamental heat transfer studies at both the macro and nano-scales.
“There are so many different applications where understanding how heat is transferred is crucial,” he said. “Those applications range from energy systems to microelectronics and new heat-assisted magnetic recording devices.”
Wehmeyer uses experimental, computational and analytical methods, which he says is a unique but advantageous combination.
“These methods feed off each other well,” he said. “We can run new simulations to explain an experimental result, or if something interesting happens in our in simulations, we can test it in the lab.”
At Rice, Wehmeyer will explore new ways to map and measure temperature with ultrahigh spatial resolution. He said measuring temperature at the finest nanoscale lengths of interest is not possible using most existing techniques.
“I want to push the frontier experimentally, and also bring computational tools up to speed so we can directly test different models for heat transfer mechanisms at the nanoscale,” he said.
The Texas native earned his Ph.D. in MECH from the University of California, Berkeley, in July 2018 and a B.S. in MECH from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2013. He said he is excited to be back home in Texas and is thrilled to be at Rice.
“The students and faculty here are excellent,” he said. “With Rice’s connections to the energy industry and the Texas Medical Center, the location in Houston is unbeatable. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be.”
His advice to students choosing a major is to consider the breadth that mechanical engineering offers, and to be intellectually curious.
“The most successful students I’ve seen are motivated and curious,” he said, “willing to try new things. MECH rewards a student like that. They can make connections with people in other areas of study and get a solid fundamental foundation that allows them to choose any career path they want later on. So take the initiative, and explore the opportunities available to you.”