I grew up in Eurasia in a family of naval architects of high-performance marine vehicles. During my years at a high school (which is called a middle school in Eurasia), I acquired labor training by working first at a candy factory and then as a mechanic at a shipyard. For my undergraduate and master’s degrees in applied physics, I attended Phystech where a few Nobel laureates used to teach. During those hungry years, I worked part-time for big companies in roofing materials and wall coverings, which gave me opportunities to travel on business from Paris to Central Asia.
My higher education spanned various areas of fluid mechanics from deep oceans to outer space, culminating in a PhD from Caltech under Dr. Culick, the world expert in combustion instabilities of rocket motors. Caltech was not easy in the beginning, as I broke my foot playing soccer in an intramural competition. (I recovered and was able to play soccer for 10 more years; after that, it has been all-out cross-country skiing.) As a graduate student, I traveled to Europe to consult with companies on novel ship drag reduction systems, as the commercial shipbuilding industry in the US has been rather stagnant due to Jones Act.
During my post-doctoral tenure at Los Alamos National Laboratory, I was lucky to work with Greg Swift and Scott Backhaus, pioneers of high-performance thermoacoustic engines and refrigerators. After that, I had a great exposure to the US engineering industry working for Art Anderson Associates in Bremerton, WA. When I saw a professor position opening at Washington State University (same state, but very different environment), I jumped to that opportunity and have been at WSU ever since. My main research themes were primarily in thermoacoustics and advanced marine vehicles, although I occasionally deviated to do projects in exotic (for me) areas, such as nanoparticle penetration into cancerous tumors and ski friction. I co-authored a book on Small Waterplane Area Ships (what’s that?).
Several years ago, I started collaborating with a rising star in cryogenics and hydrogen engineering, Prof. Jake Leachman, and recently joined the HYPER Laboratory. Most of my current work is now devoted to low-temperature systems. I carry out research on cryogenic hydrogen storage and cooling, non-equilibrium multi-phase cryogenic flows, acoustic oscillations in cryogenic environment, para-orthohydrogen conversion, and other topics. I am grateful to agencies that have been supporting my engineering curiosity over the years, including the US National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, NASA, DARPA, Office of Naval Research, Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation, and industry (spanning from the world’s leading technological corporations to small but industrious firms).