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Professor raps about fluid mechanics


Ivo Nedyalkov is a mechanical engineering lecturer at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) whose research focuses on fluid mechanics – and he also is a rapper. Nedyalkov has recorded singles and released two music videos out of a recording studio in Bulgaria. He previously thought his rapping and academic careers were parallel to each other, never intersecting. However, due to what Nedyalkov says is “luck and coincidence” he got to combine his academic flow and his rap flow in a music video that is being released this coming week.  

In early October, Nedyalkov, student volunteers and a film crew from New York City funded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers shot a music video for Nedyalkov’s rap on fluid mechanics on campus. Nedyalkov said his rap titled, “It’s All About Flow” ties together the fundamentals of flow mechanics and lyrical rap flow.  

Nedyalkov described flow mechanics as “the study of how different flows work.” There are many types of physical flows present in everyday life: water flow in rivers, air flow in sports, and blood flow in your veins, for example. Nedyalkov’s studies try to understand various flows so he can modify, improve, and develop a wide range of things. “Whether it is making diapers or designing the newest generation of jet engines, flows are everywhere,” Nedyalkov said.  

The idea for the rap developed when Nedyalkov was attending the Annual Fluid Dynamics Conference put on by the American Physical Society. At the conference “there were talks that I should make a fluids rap” said Nedyalkov. He developed a draft of the rap for next year’s conference and later recorded the rap at Unisound Records in Bulgaria. He shared this recording with his friends who work in the area of fluid mechanics.  

After obtaining and listening to the recording, Thomas Costabile, the executive director and CEO of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), approached Nedyalkov at the national ASME conference. Costabile told Nedylkov that he used to be a VP for Sony Music Entertainment and said he could help Nedyalkov expand his fluid rap project. Costabile and ASME became sponsors of the video and funded a crew to come to UNH to make a music video to accompany Nedyalkov’s rap.  

 Nedyalkov said, “I was really interested in having it shot on campus because we have great facilities.” The video features the Flow Physics Facility, and the High-Speed Cavitation Tunnel and the wave & tow tank at the Chase Ocean Laboratory. Nedyalkov has used these facilities to study flow himself. He received his Ph.D. from UNH in 2015 and shortly after became a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UNH.  

“I realized this is more than just a hobby for him and I am happy to see him becoming a rapper who is essentially promoting STEM,” UNH student Jesse Feng, one of the students in the video, said. 

“I randomly heard a rap song, I thought it was interesting and within a few days I decided I would become a rapper myself,” he said.  

Nedyalkov started writing raps and sharing them with his friends when he was a teenager 17 years ago in Bulgaria. He then started recording at Unisound Studios with other Bulgarian rappers. He originally wrote lyrics in Bulgarian but slowly transitioned to primarily writing lyrics in English when he moved to the United States.  

Feng believes that seeing the video will show that “being educated in STEM does not remove artistic skills.”  

Nedyalkov believes that this rap will draw in people outside of the STEM community.  

“I think music is a great way to reach out to many people and I think it will be an efficient outreach project because a lot of people will be attracted by the music and entertainment, but then get intrigued to see what all the lyrics mean,” he said.  

A short version of the video was premiered at the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference in Salt Lake City in November. The ASME recently released a link of the video on its YouTube channel. 

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