The Global Energy Prize laureate 2007

Vladimir Nakoryakov’s multiyear research in the field of hydrodynamics and heat exchange in gas-liquid flows can be visualized as boiling of a “kettle” of a tremendous capacity


If you heat a metal kettle filled with water, than under sufficient thermal load (really strong heating) it may melt quickly even before the water has started boiling. It happens because the quick transformation of water into steam forms a steam film characterized by low thermal conductivity between the sides of the kettle and the water mass. This steam film prevents the heat flow from reaching the water, therefore, such sides get overheated and then burn up. This amazingly thin threshold has become the subject of close attention of researchers studying the physics of heat. This is how academician Dr. Vladimir Nakoryakov, a prominent Russian thermophysicist, describes the subject of his multiyear research in the field of hydrodynamics and heat exchange in gas-liquid flows. Dr. Nakoryakov never thought that science was supposed to be somewhat separated from real life and the needs of the society. “I dealt with quite a complicated area: turbulent streams of steam and liquid mixture as well as the acoustics of this mixture”, he said in his memorable laureate speech. “Over the time, I became convinced that we should not separate fundamental research from applied science: if you are a creative personality and you receive some theoretical outcomes, you start itching to find application for them. I performed contracts for many companies: General Motors, Hewlett Packard, Air Products, and I know that what is innovation from my personal experience. And when you perform some applied work, the target gives you an idea how to achieve the target, and in this way something new comes up in terms of fundamental research too”. By the way, Vladimir uses non-traditional energy for himself for many occasions. He used to travel and traveled dozens of states, but now the best recreation for him is the silence of taiga forests. The scientist just gets in his car and goes to his house located far from any civilization, more than a hundred kilometers away from the city. Believe it or not, there is no electricity in the house of the thermo-physicist. The energy is generated by an old style oven heated by wood with the help of Peltier cells (thermoelectric transformers operating on the principle of the temperature differences occurring in process of electric current flowing). This device operating “on wood” in fact gives light to the house and make the TV set work. The level of comfort a man needs in his seclusion does not really mean a necessity to construct a power plant or lay a power transmission line.

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