Nathan Woods

Nathan Woods

Nathan Woods is a PhD candidate in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. His research interests include solving theoretical and computational problems in basic physics of complicated, classical systems. His thesis topic involves solving a generalized fluid dynamics problem with an arbitrary coordinate system using differential geometry in order to simplify current grid-generation methods.


  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Aug 2013 (exp)
  • MS, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, May 2012
  • BS, Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, May 2008

Research & Work Experience
May 2008 - Present: Research Assistant
Busemann Advanced Concepts Laboratory, University of Colorado, Boulder
Research assistant developing a computational algorithm that uses moving coordinates to reduce the burden on users, particularly in grid generation. This will greatly reduce the time that must be spent by trained users in order to obtain useful CFD results. The program Streamer is an implementation of this algorithm in Python, using Fortran for increased computational speed.

May 2008 - Aug 2009: NASA Intern
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Spent two summers as a NASA intern. The first summer, worked on two projects developing enabling technology for nano sensors: an electric field sensor based on carbon nanotubes, and growth techniques for silicon nanowires. As part of this, I designed and built testing apparatus, analyzed data, and used an atomic force microscope for mechanical device manipulation. The second summer, developed far-infrared (THz) radiation detectors for next-generation telescopes. Worked with cryogenics and microfabrication, and  used CAD software to design new lab apparatus.

Aug 2008 - May 2009: Teaching Assistant
ASEN3113 Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer, and ASEN3200 Orbital Mechanics and Attitude Dynamics, University of Colorado, Boulder
Teaching assistant for a class focused on the applications of the first and second laws of thermodynamics to control volumes and teaches the fundamental concepts of different modes of energy and heat transfer and another class on the fundamentals of orbital mechanics, 3D rigid body dynamics, and satellite attitude dynamics and controls. Organized and managed lab sessions, taught lectures, and evaluated students' work.

Aug 2006 - May 2008: Undergraduate Research Assistant
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University
Tested and improved a direct simulation monte carlo (DSMC) algorithm for studying plasma flows in an inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometer (ICP-MS). Performed algorithm characterization and verification, researched and implemented improved models for handling argon collisions, and developed a method for handling collisions with trace elements (barium).


  • Spent two years full-time doing volunteer work in Guatamala City, Guatamala

Selected Publications

  1. C. Nathan Woods, Ryan P. Starkey, "A Unified CFD Approach to Hypersonic Engine Component Design," 47th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 2011
  2. C. Nathan Woods, Ryan P. Starkey, "Verification and Application of the Unified Coordinate System," 20th AIAA Computational Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2011, AIAA-2011-3383
  3. Ross L. Spencer, Jaron Krogel, Jamie Palmer, Adam Payne, Andrew Sampson, William Somers, Charles N. Woods, "Modeling the gas flow upstream and in the sampling nozzle of the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer via the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo algorithm," Spectrochimica Acta Part B:Atomic Spectroscopy, Volume 64, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 215-221, ISSN 0584-8547, DOI:10.1016/j.sab.2009.01.003.
  4. Jon A. Brame, C. Nathan Woods, "Selectively Grown Silicon Nano-Wires for Transistor Devices," BAPS.2008.TS4CFJ6.7, American Physical Society 4-Corners, 2008
  5. Jon A. Brame, C. Nathan Woods, "Nanoscale Electric Field Sensor-Development and Testing," BAPS.2008.TS4CFJ6.8, American Physical Society 4-Corners, 2008