News & Events

A&A’s Ray Golingo moves to Fuse in Montreal

Amy Sprague
December 21, 2018

“Few people know that Ray is a former marine who also learned the welding trade. These experiences gave him quite an edge in the labs, and we will miss that versatility.” – Adam Bruckner
Ray Golingo

A&A is sad to say farewell to Professor Ray Golingo, but we are very excited about his transition to fusion energy start-up Fuse in Montreal. Golingo, who specializes in high temperature and high energy plasma science, will be aiming toward a fusion-energy future to replace fossil fuel inputs to power plants. And getting the engineering right for power plants will be a stepping stone toward high power thrusters for space exploration.

While he looks forward to continuing to engage his colleagues at A&A, he is very excited to be shifting to the fast-paced, constant experimentation culture at Fuse to push the plasma energy field forward. He says, “I think at this time, the engineering might be ahead of the science. If I want to go in the lab and try something, and I come up with good results, then I’ll progress to the next thing. The calculations to support and validate the work will come later. At Fuse, we are going to go fast, fail fast, and keep trying. We’re not going to wait for the calculations.”

Golingo, who came to A&A as an undergraduate student and continued to receive his master’s and doctoral degrees before joining the faculty, feels like this shift back to experimentation is reminiscent of what he enjoyed most at A&A. He recalled his time as an undergrad working in the wind tunnel, “A lot of the work we were doing in the tunnel was to make changes based on the engineers saying, ‘I think this will work.’” He continued, “Sometimes it did. Sometimes it didn’t. Even though the aerospace industry was mature by then, we still didn’t really know what was going to happen. We just did experiments that ultimately made planes fly better.”

He has some favorite wind tunnel moments. He loved any time a plane flew for the first time after test wind tunnel modifications were installed. He also recalls the year they tested the Circus Circus Hydroplane and it went on to win the 1990 Seafair competition.

Inuit Hood

Golingo’s handiwork on display with this model of a face with a traditional Inuit hood of wolf and wolverine fur for a wind tunnel simulation.

He had other unusual experiments as well, including exploring why Inuits rarely experience frostbite, with former University of Manitoba professor Aline Cotel (now at the University of Michigan). Golingo crafted a copper head with sensors and outfitted it with traditional Inuit headgear to discover that the specific furs used in the hood around the face, namely wolverine and wolf, kept the face warm even in extreme temperatures and facing into Arctic winds.

Professor Emeritus Adam Bruckner noted that Golingo brought an important toolkit to the department that made him unique. “Few people know that Ray is a former marine who also learned the welding trade. These experiences gave him quite an edge in the labs, and we will miss that versatility.”

He leaves us with some advice for incoming students, “Look where you want to be after here. A&A isn’t an end. It’s just a beginning. Learn the skills here as best you can to set yourself up for success later on.”