John Kershner is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. He's researching owl-inspired aeroacoustics to design mechanisms that may one day help planes fly with less noise. 

The back of owls' feathers are "layered in an interesting way where they are essentially porous," he explains. "Our goal was to be one of the first groups to actually fly an aircraft and demonstrate owl-inspired noise reduction."

Kershner is advised by Justin Jaworski, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics. Jaworski  investigates natural and aerospace phenomena involving coupled fluid-structure interactions, vortex dynamics, and noise generation. 

In a world with increasing air traffic, there are concerns about the detrimental health effects of noise created by aircraft—not only by their engines but also by air passing over wings as a plane lands, which is the type of noise Kershner is studying. 

"There really is so little experimental work or studies done on putting these owl-inspired noise-silencing mechanisms on planes," he says, and "just being people leading in this area is very exciting." 

Watch the video for more details on this research. 


John Kershner

PhD student John Kershner

Justin Jaworski

Professor Justin Jaworski