Megan Fisher

Creating an Event Horizon Analogue using the Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction

April 7, 2021   /  

Student Name: Megan Fisher
Major: Physics
Minor: Mathematics
Advisor: Dr. Niklas Manz, Dr. John Lindner (second reader)

The purpose of this thesis was to create a tabletop analogue for the event horizon of a black hole using the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. To create this analogue, we aim to fill a channel with a BZ solution, initiate a wave, and pump the fluid at a velocity to exactly oppose the BZ wave to create a standing wave. We redesigned the reaction container for the experimental setup to create sections of varying height to create a velocity gradient as the fluid was pumped. The experimental set up was transitioned from the previously used NE-9000G Peristaltic Pump to the Gilson Minipuls 3 Peristaltic Pump, funded by the College of Wooster’s Copeland fund. We also found a set of BZ solution concentrations to create low excitability for controllable wave production. Once all elements were tested, we performed final testing to observe and create a time-space plot to visualize the analogue.

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Megan will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST 6am-8am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

50 thoughts on “Creating an Event Horizon Analogue using the Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction”

  1. Your work is a big step toward the first-ever BZ event-horizon analogue; if you had one more year, what would you do next?

    1. Hi Dr. Lindner, I think the two biggest things I would work on if I had more time would be experimenting with different tubing sizes in the Gilson pump and experimenting with reversing the pumping direction.

      Because the peristaltic pump has rollers that push the liquid through the pump, they can have an effect with drawing the fluid backwards, which results in a varying pumping speed. If the tube is smaller, this effect is lessened. This may have a big effect on the air stream being pumped. As the time-space plot shows, the BZ front is being elongated and not actually hitting a fluid barrier like we intended, but a more consistent pumping rate may help to create a fluid barrier to have a more accurate analogue.

      For reversing the pumping direction, I was able to do some very late trials that appeared to create a good barrier of air, but this may also cause other issues such as triggering the BZ waves in the right direction.

      Because the trials were so late in the process, I didn’t have time to experiment with these further, but hopefully another student will soon!

    2. Megan,

      First and foremost – So proud of the work you have done and having the patience and fortitude to see it to it’s completion.

      Did this project bring you any new insight or information that you can transfer over to your new position @ Aerospace?

      1. Hi Dad! I’m not sure that I will be able to transfer some of the specific scientific knowledge to my job at Aerospace, but I think this project has taught me a lot about being detail oriented, working on a big project and how to create small deadlines to make a large project manageable, and getting through missteps are times of some of the most learning. I’m almost sure these lesson will help me through my career.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Pasteur! I will be starting a job in the space architecture department at the Aerospace Corporation at their office outside of Washington DC. I’m so excited for this new adventure! Thank you again for your guidance throughout my time at Wooster!

  2. Modeling the point of no return for black holes is an interesting project and not an easy task, I dare say. Good job on tackling this fascinating scientific topic, Megan.

    What is the main takeaway you have learned from this analogue modeling?

    Enjoy your summer internship!

    1. Hi Dr. Visa, I think one of the biggest things that I have learned is that to do new research, missteps are inevitable. I also learned how detailed the consideration of a physical experiment needs to be in order to make sure everything will work like we want it to. More specifically, fluids do not always do what we want or expect them to do.

  3. Great job Megan! do you think it will be possible to make all the waves stationary by creating a radial fluid flow centered on the BZ waves?

    1. Hi Carlos, I’m having some trouble visualizing what you mean, can you explain further?

  4. Hi Megan,

    Very neat to see theory and experiment dovetailing together nicely. Congratulations on your new position!

    1. Thank you. Dr. Leary! And thank you again for all of you help and advise throughout my college career (and all the letter of rec you wrote for me).

  5. So very proud of you!! Congratulations on an amazing final project!! (I don’t understand any of this so I can’t even ask an intelligent question!!🀣)

      1. Your poster is more understandable for me. I should have read that first!! Still impressive.

  6. Yay, Megan! So proud of all the work you’ve put into this and congratulations!

  7. Congratulations, Megan! I’m sure your work is going to be a major contribution in your field!

  8. Whoa, really cool poster! I know all the trouble this project caused you, so I’m so happy it turned out so well!! Great job!!

    1. Thank you Kath! Yes this definitely was a journey, but I’m also so happy how it turned out! So excited to see what your final product!

  9. Megan! Yay congratulation on finishing your thesis. I am not a hard sciences major so I did not totally understand everything but you have truly officially passed the test 😊.

  10. Congrats Megan!! Really been great to grow in our math classes together. All the best at the Aerospace Corporation πŸ™‚

    1. Aalyt!! Congratulations to you too! It has been wonderful to see how we have grown since calc. I’m so excited to see you project!

  11. Amazing work Megan! Seeing fantastic people like you do such fascinating research makes my heart so happy! YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

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