Emily Ching

  • Senior Research Fellowship in 2007 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professor Emily Ching is an internationally recognized leader in research in turbulent and chaotic dynamical systems. She received the Achievement in Asia Award of the Overseas Chinese Physics Association in 1999 and was elected a Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society respectively in 2004 and 2005. (2007/2008)


Professor Ching's general research interests lie in non-equilibrium systems, and particularly on the longstanding problem of fluid turbulence. Recently, one of her research focus is on understanding the intriguing and practically important phenomenon of drag reduction by polymer additives in turbulent flows.

When the flow of fluids in channels or pipes changes from laminar to turbulent as speed of the flow is increased, there is a large increase in drag. A major technological challenge is to reduce this drag in order to minimize the energy needed to transport fluids like oil in pipelines, or to move ships in the sea or aeroplanes in the air.

It has been known for more than 50 years that the addition of polymers can reduce drag in turbulent flows by a significant amount but a fundamental understanding of the phenomenon remains lacking. By studying the balance of the budgets of energy and momentum, Professor Ching and her collaborators showed that polymers provide an additional channel to dissipative energy, thus reducing turbulent fluctuations, which effectively make the flow more laminar and so the drag is reduced.

Professor Ching’s research work is internationally recognized. She was awarded the Achievement in Asia Award from the Overseas Chinese Physics Association in 1999 “for contributions to the understanding of the complex fluctuations in fluid turbulence”. She was elected the Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society in 2004 and 2005 respectively. She also serves in the Editorial board of various journals including the Journal of Turbulence.