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Joel Bernier

2004 - 2005 CSIP Fellow

Research Interest:
Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering

My research area is the mechanics of engineering materials; namely the formulation and support of structure-based modeling frameworks to predict the mechanical properties, such as the strength and stiffness, of complex alloys. As such, my tasks are split fairly equally between designing experiments and numerical modeling. Currently I am working with methods for extrapolating 3-d distributions of particular structural features of a class of alloys from x-ray and neutron diffraction data in the form of 2-d ‘snapshots’.

Of particular interest to me is the development a comprehensive visual approach to teaching the fundamentals of vector math, and possibly calculus consistent with regents’ physics requirements. In my experience, the mathematics component of courses in the physical sciences is a stumbling block for many students, often leading to frustration. I believe that it is critical to first communicate the concept of multi-dimensional data (e.g. vectors vs. scalars) before attempting to manipulate it. Some simple in-classroom experiments, possibly used in conjunction with numeric simulations could serve as effective teaching tools towards this end. I also enjoy the challenge of putting fundamental lessons in the context of real-world design challenges, which could be accomplished by student projects. I look forward to working with teachers in the classroom to explore and implement effective methods for treating these rather abstract





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