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James Braun

James is studying a new type of gas turbine (for airplanes or power plants), which, instead of burning fuel with a classical spark plug, uses mini-explosions and should be theoretically more efficient than the engines we use now. This new type of engine is called a detonation engine, and James’s research team is trying to develop turbines to efficiently extract power from these detonation engines in which the flow is very wild, and thus, very exciting!

Why Purdue?

2 Years ago, my supervising professor back in Belgium, Eric Van den Bulck, told me very passionately about how the Midwest was the place to be for aerospace and how much he enjoyed his time in the Midwest. When I had the opportunity to come to Purdue, I did not hesitate for a moment.

Career goal?

Become a valuable researcher of course :) but we can talk about that around a good glass of Belgian beer.

Favorite fact about Purdue?

The breakfast club: I never did it but I keep telling myself that I need to do it one day and try to wake up at 5 AM on a Saturday...

Three words that best describe your work?

Explosions, shock waves, gas turbine engines

Where do you spend most of your time on campus?

Behind my PC, in the PETAL lab (the Purdue Experimental Turbine Aerothermal lab)

If you have free time, how do you choose to spend it?

Snowboarding in Colorado in winter and serving as a leader in the boy scouts in the summer with all my Belgian friends!

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

Whatsapp to stay in contact friends and FaceTime to talk weekly to my mother and sister.

What's your workspace setup like?

My desktop in Zucrow Laboratories with my noise canceling headphones and my freshly brewed coffee imported from Belgium!

What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Carpe diem!

What do you listen to while you work?

I listen to Belgian radio: PURE FM during the day and MNM during the night.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I am very good in providing my colleagues freshly brewed coffee every day, giving them some Belgian chocolates from time to time and making some funny jokes to keep everybody happy at work.

How do you recharge physically and/or mentally?

By traveling very far away from my office from time to time.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To switch off my cellphone and email during my holidays!

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