Fire, earth, air, & water

The Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle taught that matter consists of four elements - fire, earth, air, and water. What complete archaic nonsense! Well... maybe not entirely.

In the light of modern complex systems science it has to be admitted that those factors, and nonlinear interactions among them, do shape our environment to a large extent. For example, what determines patterns and rates of spread of wildland fires? Topography is one factor, and in this project you may analyse large imaging data sets for patterns and correlations that help design new fire management and planning practices. As a complementary study you may also investigate specific issues related to the roles of water and air in the chemistry and fluid dynamics of fuel thermal decomposition and combustion.

With Andrew Sullivan of CSIRO-ENSIS.