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HISTORY

This Ph.D. course represents the evolution and the expansion of an existing center of excellence at the University of Trieste, the Doctoral School Environmental and Industrial Fluid Mechanics, which for years has been highly appreciated for quality and internationalization. The extension of the doctoral program represents a completion and an enhancement of the previous structure, both in terms of subjects and of personnel involved.

Strengths of this PhD programme are: 

  • the interdisciplinary nature of the scientific expertizing and the presence in the academic board of mathematicians, physicists, geologists and engineers, with a high scientific profile, who operate in complete synergy in the understanding of physical problems and in the knowledge of mathematical and computational models; 
  • the presence of three institutions interacting with each other, the University of Trieste, the International Centre of Theoretical Physics and the National Institute of Oceanography and Geophysics (among these institutions a formal cooperation agreement was signed on 14 November 2013); 
  • the collaborations with foreign research institutions, as well as the creation of a strong link between national and international research institutions and companies operating in the city of Trieste, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and in the region Alpe-Adria.

SCIENTIFIC PROJECT 

The earth sciences study the structure, the physical and the chemical properties and the evolution of our planet, with instruments ranging from direct surveys on the ground and in the laboratory to the most advanced methods in the field of remote sensing, geophysics, petrophysics and geochemistry. By studying the current conditions, facing the reconstruction of complex processes, such as crustal deformations or migration of fluids within the solid matrix of rocks and sediments, with important implications in the field of resources and the prevention of natural hazards. The used methods include advanced techniques of non-invasive diagnostics based on natural fields (potential methods) or on the propagation of electromagnetic or seismic waves, spectroscopic techniques for the study of geological materials, numerical modeling techniques for the reconstruction and the study of evolutionary models of the subsurface and the surface of our planet.Important implications of these studies can also be found in recent developments in terms of climate. Over a large part of these issues there are important connections with the field of fluid mechanics, particularly in the area of fluid geo-resources (water, oil) and contamination.

Fluid mechanics studies the properties and the behavior of fluids, that is, liquids, gases, plasmas, and more generally of substances whose molecules have no fixed positions in space but can move relative to each other with different relative speeds. It involves physical phenomena of relevant complexity and has a broad range of applications. Most environmental systems involve the dynamics of water and gases that is described in terms of fluid mechanics, such as, e.g., diffusion of pollutants, or issues of marine and atmospheric meteorology. Similarly, biological systems are regulated by transport and dispersion of elements or species in water, air, and blood. Many industrial problems are concerned with fluid processes: for instance in transportation applications, or in processes where chemical-fluid dynamic interaction is expected.

The fundamental laws upon which this discipline is based are generally expressed by partial differential equations, often nonlinear and highly complex: their study requires the application of various methods of advanced mathematics and is a research field of high theoretical and practical relevance. Mathematics appears therefore to be a tool of fundamental importance for the study of these disciplines. In turn, the study of issues related to earth sciences and fluid mechanics poses new problems, opens up new perspectives and provides incentive and opportunity for the development of new methods of research in mathematics, with particular emphasis to modeling issues, qualitative aspects of the theory of differential equations, numerical and computational methods for their quantitative treatment.

 

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

The Doctorate School in Earth Science and Fluid Mechanics is aimed at the advanced training of students in the field of fluid mechanics, applied mathematics and earth sciences, with particular reference to the topics described above. It promotes the theoretical and applicative formation of students, through the investigation of scientific themes developed in the research groups belonging to the departments involved in the programme and through international collaborations that provide the possibility to attend some training projects at qualified research level abroad. With regard to fluid mechanics, the processes that involve the study of the motion of fluids and their transport properties, dispersion and mixing in environmental and industrial settings, are addressed in particular, as well as their interaction with the solid elements. Topics of thermodynamics and microphysics on a large scale are also studied.In the field of earth sciences, the main objective is the transfer of knowledge on advanced methods of investigation with applications to the study of composition, structure, stratigraphy and evolution of our planet, from the close surface up to the deep structures and to the characteristics at the global scale. The techniques of analysis, modeling and inversion of geophysical data are an important part of the program and integrate with the tools of direct investigation and laboratory in the fields of geochemistry, geology and geomorphology, petrophysics and mineralogy / petrology. The study of mathematical models of interest for fluid mechanics and earth sciences, both from the theoretical and the computational point of view, is a relevant part of the program as well.

The program aims to prepare students to pursue different careers in research, teaching and in the industrial use of high technologies in the above mentioned areas. The final dissertation must be original, represent the state of the art in the chosen field and contain material for the publication of scientific papers in international journals of the field included in the ISI or SCOPUS catalogs. The students will be in contact with several local and international environments and gain a considerable experience in both theoretical and applied problems of fluid dynamics. In addition, the students will develop familiarity and competence in the use of more advanced tools (both modeling and experimental) for the analysis of complex physical systems, which will be of great use for future activities in public or private research centers or for any work in companies with high technological content.

The program aims to prepare students to pursue different careers in research, teaching and in the industrial use of high technologies in the above mentioned areas. The final dissertation must be original, must represent the state of the art in the chosen field and should contain material for the publication of scientific papers in international journals of the field included in the ISI or SCOPUS catalogues. The students will be in contact with several local and international environments and gain a considerable experience in both theoretical and applied problems of earth scences and fluid mechanics. In addition, the students will develop familiarity and competence in the use of more advanced tools (both modeling and experimental) for the analysis of complex physical systems, which will be of great use for future activities in public or private research centers or for any work in companies with high technological content.

All students must follow a program of courses in order to achieve good skills in the chosen research field. In particular "core courses" and "research-based courses" are offered. The core courses must provide the tools for understanding the physical phenomena involved and will focus on topics of mathematics and fluid mechanics or geophysics. The research-oriented courses will include research- based geophysics, geophysical fluid dynamics, physics and modeling of turbulence, physical oceanography, dynamics of the lower atmosphere, advanced mathematical methods for the study of qualitative properties of nonlinear differential equations of interest in fluid mechanics and geophysics. There will also be periodic seminars delivered by experts, which students are expected to attend to.