Dr Cristian Birzer
The University of Adelaide
Fluid Mechanics, Laser Diagnostics and Combustion
In the developing world, people are reliant on solid fuels, such as dung and wood, to cook their food. Harmful emissions that come from these primitive cooking systems kill over 4 million people every year, most of these are women and children. Additionally, over 780 million people do not have access to treated water and with more than 1.5 million people dying each year because of waterborne pathogens. Dr Birzer’s research group takes the complex science of combustion and fluid mechanics, plus the creativity of engineering, to develop affordable solutions that reduce harmful emissions from cooking systems, treat pathogens in water, or generate electricity. For example, putting together a couple of tin cans, with scientifically placed air holes to create a system that produces 90% less carbon monoxide emissions compared with traditional cooking systems. These simple solutions, based on complex science, can save millions of lives.
Cristian, as the Outreach Coordinator and Director for External Relations for the School of Mechanical Engineering, has had many opportunities to give school presentations and radio interviews about engineering. He is also President of Engineers Australia – SA, representing all engineers in SA. He also developed the Engineering Equipped program, introducing teachers to engineering concepts that they can take back to their classrooms. It has now grown to include 1200 students in 2012, and was adopted by DECD and Concept2Creation.