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Stanford Report, May 17, 2000

Engineering professor uses images to make fluid mechanics anything but dry


One of Jeffrey Koseff's greatest joys is an unstirred latte. It's not because he likes a clean interface between the top layer of coffee and the bottom layer of milk. It's because he likes to go in with a "big, mean spoon" and create turbulence.

"I play with food because there's great fluid mechanics there," Koseff said during a May 4 lecture on the value of imagery in teaching. "Students have many different learning styles, and images speak to students in ways that equations or words do not."

Koseff, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and senior associate dean of the School of Engineering, uses images of erupting volcanoes, bursting fire hydrants and flooding gutters to make his fluid mechanics lectures anything but dry.