Chuck Pell, Associate in Research  

Chuck Pell

Office Location: 139 Bio Sci Building
Office Phone: (919) 632-0714
Email Address:

Office Hours:

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. weekdays

Research Categories: Functional Morphology, Biomimetic Technology, Science Education, Outreach

Current projects: Robotic, instrumented models, including devices for investigating unsteady events. These models may mimic aspects of the structures and functions of plants and animals, or they may exploit similar tricks.

Research Description: My work has concentrated in 4 areas: Biology, Technology Development, Education, and Outreach. Biology: Comparative functional morphology & biomechanics, coupled fluid-solid systems, force transmission, anisotropic biomaterials, 3D modeling, evo-devo, and ecomorphology. My focus on functional morphology is chiefly about the design and passive mechanics of structures subjected to (and/or generating) oscillatory flow. Three useful systems fill in each other's gaps: (1) The Organism, (2) Mathematical Modeling of the organism, and (3) 3D Physical Modeling of the organism. The constraints of any two are often circumvented by the permissions granted by the third. Physical modeling, in particular, combines tractability with fidelity, rapidly exposing robust (so presumably important) effects. Technology: Novel marine technologies, especially biomimetic vehicles and sensor platforms, development & fabrication of simple, rugged devices from first principles, multi-regime “green” technology, and new approaches to surviving & thriving in situ. The technology development is useful as it often illuminates new aspects of biology. Education: Enabling classroom community success via collegiality, open exchange of ideas, a hands-on approach (particularly 3D), an atmosphere of permission & excellence, freedom to fail early & often (when it is still cheap), teaching creativity & resourcefulness, enthusiasm and a well-stocked tool kit. [Motto: there are 10^3 ways to fail, and 10^6 ways to succeed. Your job is to use up the failures until your are consistently succeeding...] Outreach: Listening to the community, embracing and encouraging public curiosity, belief in the citizen-scientist, clarity of engagement with voters and policymakers, closed-loop development of pedagogical experience, adoption (and flexible use) of past/current/bleeding edge media technology in the field, to classroom, to public venues, and follow-through and stewardship of stakeholders (i.e., all of us)

Areas of Interest:
Why do organisms have the stuctures we see? Why those shapes? Why those materials?
Why do they move like that? Why do they live here and not there? How did they get that way?

Curriculum Vitae

Research support --- thanks to: NSF The U.S. Office of Naval Research DARPA Great thanks always to SAW, Vogel, and BLIMPies everywhere