After a PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Bayreuth, Eberhard Bodenschatz chose to become an experimentalist and joined a post-doctorate under the supervision of Guenter Ahlers in 1989 in Santa Barbara. There, he observed a new class of convection patterns dominated by spiral defects. His research caught the attention of the nonlinear physics community and of Cornell University, where he became Physics Professor in 1992.
At Cornell, Dr. Bodenschatz helped develop a revolutionary method capable of following in an orderly way the otherwise messy motion of particles in turbulent flows: “That was a major breakthrough, because it allowed us to effectively get much more information on turbulence,” said Alain Pumir, head of physics research at ENS Lyon.
In 2003, Dr. Bodenschatz was invited by the Max Planck Society to return to Germany and head one of the research organization’s institutes in Göttingen. There, Dr. Bodenschatz set himself a new challenge: to build the world’s largest turbulence facility and study the phenomenon at the highest intensity ever. “That was difficult, and it took him no less than 10 years. But, as Eberhard likes to say: Rome wasn’t built in a day. And his patience and perseverance have always paid off,” Pumir said.
Dr. Bodenschatz has taught several ENS students during their postdoctoral stays at Cornell University and in Göttingen. Pumir described him as very dedicated, curious and eager to work on demanding projects, but also as a fun-loving friend and colleague.
“I’m truly honored,” Dr. Bodenschatz said upon receiving from ENS Lyon the title of Doctor Honoris Causa. “My best postdocs so far have been coming from Lyon and I’m hoping to get many more sent my way.”