© 2017 by Samantha McBride, created with Wix.com 

Microgravity Science

Microgravity science encompasses a huge number of subjects including fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mammalian biology, plant biology, cell biology, biophysics, and more. I became involved in the microgravity science community (specifically, the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, ASGSR) during my masters, where my thesis project was sponsored was NASA. Working under Dr. Amir Hirsa at RPI, I performed ground-analogue experiments of a fluid-biophysics experiment called the Ring-Shear-Drop Module. The RSD experiment is planned to fly to the International Space Station in 2019, and applies a shearing flow to a container-less drop of solution via a rotating ring. To test the functionality of the RSD, I was also fortunate to be able to participate on a parabolic flight where we experimented operation of controllably growing a drop in microgravity.

 

I am currently serving as the ASGSR student president from 2016-2018. As the student president, I organize education and outreach events to use the broad appeal of space to get K-12 students interested in science careers. I also helped organize a science advocacy trip to Washington D.C., where students met with congressional staff to talk about the importance of the space science programs.

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Research

  • Microgravity fluid mechanics and drops

  • Formation of biofilms on engineered surfaces in microgravity (collaboration with Dr. Luis Zea at UC Boulder)

  • Influence of gravitational orientation on coffee-ring crystallization