Jonathan Regele’s time in industry has given him an appreciation for academia along with a good sense of what’s important for students who plan to enter the workforce. And he’s looking forward to bringing that experience to the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State.
Regele began his education at the University of California, Irvine, where he obtained bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and physics in 2001. He also worked as an undergraduate research assistant, focusing on electrohydrodynamic fluid atomization and molecular dynamic simulations of ion wind present in micro-gravity combustion. It was during this time that Regele developed a passion for research in numerical methods, plasma physics, and fluid dynamics.
Fascinated with plasmas, Regele attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he earned a master’s in physics in 2003 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2008. His graduate research focused on numerical modeling of detonation initiation using the dynamically adaptive wavelet-collocation method. It was also during his doctoral program that he married his wife, Laura.
Regele then spent nearly three years working for Creative Power Solutions, a small start-up company in the power generation and energy sector. His work involved performing computational fluid dynamic simulations for both utility companies and original equipment manufacturers, such as Siemens Energy. He performed simulations of gas turbine combustors, three-dimensional turbomachinery, and pulverized coal combustors. He also worked on some innovative ideas for which he obtained several patents and wrote proposals to develop the technologies with small business innovative research grants.
Eventually, however, Regele realized that industry was not the right fit for him and decided to return to academia. “I knew I wanted to be a professor, but at the same time I was simply tired of being in school, and I wanted to see what the world outside of academia was like,” he says. “After gaining some experience in industry, I was ready to get back into the academic environment.”
To return to academia, Regele took a postdoctoral scholar position in mechanical engineering at The California Institute of Technology, where he worked on hydrogen combustion models using tabulated chemistry and compressible multiphase flows.
Regele began at Iowa State in the fall, and his research will focus on numerical methods. But he says he’s also ready to begin his teaching career. “I am a very hands-on person, so I am excited about teaching and working with students doing more applied projects like shock tubes, jet engines, and rocket engines,” he says.
Regele is also ready to continue his research in detonations and multiphase flows, as well as take a new approach to his work in hydrogen combustion. “The college has very strong initiatives in fluid dynamics, multiphase flows, and biofuels research, which fits my research interests well,” he explains. “There’s a lot of potential collaboration here at Iowa State, and I’m excited to join in and broaden my horizons.”
He looks forward to the benefits this change in career will offer for his family as well, anticipating that the Ames community will provide a great deal of opportunities for his wife and two young sons.
“It seems like a great place to expand my research, and the town is very welcoming for my family,” says Regele. “Ames seems like a nice balance between all aspects of life, a balance that we may not have been able to obtain in other places.”