College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Tornado research part of MSI exhibit in Chicago

Iowa State University’s Tornado/Microburst Simulator and two Iowa State professors, Partha Sarkar and Bill Gallus, are part of the new Science Storms exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

A panel within the tornado portion of the exhibit shows a photo of Sarkar, a professor of aerospace engineering, and Gallus, a professor of geological and atmospheric sciences, standing in the spinning vortex of a laboratory tornado. The caption describes how Iowa State researchers “developed a unique air vortex in their lab to study the effect of wind flow on landscapes and buildings. Dedicated to improving the engineering of buildings and structures, the team built a scale model of Chicago and blasted it with tornado-like winds.”

Iowa State’s tornado research team is led by Sarkar and includes Gallus; Hui Hu and Vinay Dayal, associate professors of aerospace engineering; Fred Haan, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and affiliate faculty at Iowa State; Sri Sritharan, associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering; Bill Rickard, technologist for aerospace engineering and the Wind Simulation and Testing Laboratory; and Gayle Fay, coordinator of events for the lab.

The $34 million, 26,000-square-foot Science Storms exhibit uses natural phenomena such as tornados, sunlight, fire and avalanches to investigate basic chemistry and physics in a hands-on way. It opened March 18 as a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

KCCI, the Des Moines CBS affiliate, ran a story about the exhibit also.


Partha Sarkar, Aerospace Engineering, (515) 294-0719,

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917,