The Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

08 August 2017

Dr Vincent Wheatley at UQ’s Centre for Hypersonics

Space. The final frontier. Or at least that’s what it appeared to be when Dr Vincent Wheatley was a child.

“I was always interested in space and science fiction when I was growing up,” Dr Wheatley recalled.

“It was just always a fun, fantastical idea that I could actually have a job building spacecraft.”

As he got older, and universities began mechanical and space engineering projects, Dr Wheatley’s dream became a reality. After graduating from UQ with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Space) in 1998 and Master of Engineering Science (Mechanical) in 2001, he went on to obtain his PhD in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 2005.

He then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university, and has since built a career guiding a new generation of engineers who share his passion.

Now a senior lecturer at UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, he is an expert in the simulation of hypersonic flows and plasma instabilities.

“One of the advantages of doing a degree at a research-intensive university is that you’re gaining knowledge in the same place as new knowledge is being generated. That helps to excite and engage students. If you’re interested in what you’re doing, you are going to learn more.”

- School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering senior lecturer Dr Vincent Wheatley

Dr Wheatley said he strived to make students not only active learners, but intrigued and enthusiastic ones by engaging them in activities based on authentic scenarios from industry or research that were relevant to their future careers.

“One of the advantages of doing a degree at a research-intensive university is that you’re gaining knowledge in the same place as new knowledge is being generated," Dr Wheatley said.

"That helps to excite and engage students. If you’re interested in what you’re doing, you are going to learn more.”

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