National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center


TFAWS HISTORY – The Eloquent Version (by Barbara Sakowski)

Chapter I: The First Gathering

Once upon a time at the NASA Lewis Research Center (a place said no longer to exist…), a group of thermal analysts in the Thermal and Fluids Analysis Branch got a brilliant idea to get together and discuss all the relevant tools they used to perform their workly duties. This was deemed especially useful because several of the analysts worked for a powerful overlord called Space Station Freedom. You see the aristocratic project office of Space Station Freedom declared to all those indentured to serve it that they must use only the tools they decreed worthy.

Confused? Well, fortunately some of the analysts in the Thermal and Fluids Analysis Branch were masters of these lofty tools. But also unfortunately many more were just fledgling apprentices of these tools. So at this meeting the analysts, who were the masters of these highly acclaimed tools, very wisely and unselfishly suggested that a more efficient regimen be constructed to aid the apprentices in learning these tools more quickly, so that they themselves may also become masters of the lofty tools. A decision was made to plan an official gathering of masters and apprentices and a call went out not only to the land of NASA Lewis, but to faraway lands as well.

So invitations were sent out far and wide to apprentices and masters alike to come to NASA Lewis to refine and share their skills of one such lofty tool, SINDA 85/FLUINT. Thus the Grand Masters of SINDA 85/Fluint, Brent Cullimore and Steve Ring, were also invited from their faraway land to bestow their vast knowledge of the lofty tool to all who were willing to listen. All to better serve the Space Station Freedom standards and to create a spectacular palace in the stars.

And so the official gathering was given an official name, “Thermal Analysis Workshop”. It was held in the Year MCMLXXXIX (or 1989) in the Main Auditorium of the place said no longer to exist, the NASA Lewis Research Center. Since the name “Thermal Analysis Workshop” was so long to say, the thermal analysts in the Thermal and Fluids Analysis Branch decided to honor the long held tradition of creating an acronym. The gathering was thereby declared to be TAWS.

One hundred and six (CVI) persons attended the gathering. Eight wise and outgoing persons presented papers about various topics of their trade. Then, all bid adieu and were happy and grateful for the knowledge that was obtained. The Space Station standards gods smiled.

This could be the end of a happy tale but alas it continues. The gathering created great interest, not only at the NASA Lewis Kingdom but in other lands as well. The people cried out for another gathering. And so it was decreed that another official gathering would be held the following year.

Chapter II: Hands On

It was the Year MCMXC (1990) when the gathering was held again. The Grand Masters of SINDA 85/Fluint, Brent Cullimore and Steve Ring, were again invited from their faraway land to bestow their vast knowledge of the lofty tool to all who were willing to listen. But other grand masters were invited as well to show their wares. You see the thermal analysts of NASA Lewis, had heard legends of the existence of different thermal analysis tools. Thus they wanted to see for themselves if this was indeed true. And indeed true it was. At the great second gathering of TAWS, PATRAN/P-THERMAL, TRASYS (a code well acknowledged by the Space Station overlord) were presented as well as a fledgling thermal code called THERMAL SYNTHESIZER SYSTEM. This fledgling code also followed the time honored ancestral tradition of creating an acronym, TSS, for its name. There were other codes presented, too, some well known and others not. This was the grand ball of all thermal analysis tools and all were welcome to come dazzle and impress.

Another Grand Master Dr. Robert Siegel, a radiation god in his own right, also gave a special presentation to the eager masses that flocked to the great second gathering.

The gathering was again held at NASA Lewis but it grew to such a size that it was necessary to request the use of the Kingdom Harley to accommodate those who attended. The Kingdom Harley gladly set up conference rooms for the great second gathering of TAWS in exchange for currency. They also provided room and board for those who traveled from afar to attend the gathering (for additional currency).

What made this gathering different from all others in this land and faraway lands as well, was the advent of “hands on” learning. This was a radical concept. Skeptics declared it could not be done. But alas each apprentice got to sit in front of his or her own computer terminal, with perhaps one, two, or three … other apprentices, and actually take a gander at running these lofty analysis tools for themselves.
Again the tale could end here but it doesn’t still. The future looked bright for these official gatherings called TAWS but changes loomed on the horizon.

Chapter III: Where’s the “F”

It was the Year MCMXCI (1991) and a new regime was unfolding in the Thermal & Fluids Analysis Branch of NASA Lewis (that place said no longer to exist…). Young blood was being infused into the domain of old ones. This new young blood was eager to expand the official gathering, TAWS, and to add to its greatness. A committee was formed with young and old from the branch to orchestrate this even grander event. Since committees at NASA Lewis require meetings for their sustenance, meetings were held on a regular basis to discuss the upcoming TAWS. It just so happens that a young lady analyst, who was on this committee and a mere apprentice, suggested that which she thought was obvious but was indeed oblivious to all. Although she reluctantly performed thermal analysis in the Thermal & Fluids Analysis Branch, her heart yearned to perform Fluids analysis. After all it was in the name of her branch, and names are indeed important in the realm of the Lewis Kingdom. Thus she made a bold suggestion that the official gathering be renamed to the “Thermal & Fluids Analysis Workshop” or TFAWS. The blatant omission of the “F” for fluids should immediately and henceforth be rectified. There were no objections to this radical suggestion and only concerns on the pronunciation of the new acronym. It would no longer roll off the tongue so smoothly (try it yourself).

A final consensus was made that the official pronunciation of the acronym would be “T” (all together now) and “FAWS”. Who would have thought a letter “F” could be such trouble. That singular letter caused splinter meeting after splinter meeting to incorporate it into the emblem. Oh yes there is an emblem, wasn’t that mentioned already? The original TAWS emblem was an equilateral triangle with the words “Thermal”, “Analysis”, and “WorkShop” written respectively on the three (III) sides of the triangle. The year the gathering was held was placed aptly in the center of the triangle. The year was in abbreviated form, i.e., ‘XCI’ (’91’) and without the quotes. But alas the story diverges….

Continuing on… The “F” word, or rather, Fluids, would mean a fourth (IV’th) word. Are we following the math here? (Hint: three (III) sides to a triangle). Fortunately the analysts were also engineers and devised a clever solution. Since the workshop was to be balanced in both Thermal and Fluids topics, those words would independently occupy the two (II) sides of the triangle. The bottom side of the triangle would contain the remaining two (II) words, “Analysis Workshop”. For those sticklers who are really paying attention the “and” was represented by an “&” and placed at the top of the triangle. For those who are literally but not pictorially impaired this should help:





The III (3) dimensional effect was also added by the creative committee members.

Another important issue that needed addressing at these TFAWS meetings was color – this being brought up once again by the young lady analyst and apprentice. The men folk did not seem to realize the importance of continuity in color like the single lady analyst on the committee so she took matters into her own hands. She decided that the official colors of TFAWS would be burgundy and beige. Now the happenstance of retaining these colors was not out of deep thought or design as is the popular belief today. You see, the branch that does graphics in the Lewis Kingdom had a lot of left over burgundy poster board and it was, more importantly, free. Decision made. Oh yes the beige was chosen because it did look good with the burgundy.

The great third gathering of the now TFAWS was a success. There were many hands on classes and presentations for masters and apprentices alike, and fluid or thermal connoisseurs. Hands on classes and presentations were spread all about the Lewis Kingdom. However, little did the attendees know of the chaos that would ensue in making the gathering a success. Even just hours before the opening day of the gathering, weary-eyed committee members scampered about to and fro to get things ready. You see in those days, computers were archaic machines. Much of the paperwork (i.e., agendas, registration forms, schedules, etc.) was literally put together by the crafty hands (that soon would have the marks of several nasty paper cuts) of the committee members. Scissors and glue, as well as the photocopy machine, were paramount. Don’t forget the stapler! An eye for lining things up straight and centering was also useful.

The versatile committee members also served as kindly chauffeurs shuttling attendees to the various events across the vast Lewis Kingdom. One gallant committee member, a master in his own right, volunteered to teach a hands-on class on the lofty tool SINDA 85/FLUINT. His gracious assistant was the young lady apprentice analyst (the one obsessive about color).

When the third official gathering came to a close, the committee members were exuberant about their success but exhausted. They did however decide gallantly to continue the tradition the following year.

Hurrah for TFAWS’91,
a most spectacular one;
With all praises hail we
the committee from TFAB.
My tribute to you all,
dedicated and professional,
For sticking with it in a unity of spirit.

Details large and small
were fun for all.
Taken in stride
with professional pride.
Nothing was hectic,
and no one was frantic;

Classes were taught
and thanx a lot.
You’all are great
and really rate
My thanx everyone
For work well done.

William A. Groesbeck
1925 – 1991
Chief, Thermal & Fluids Analysis Branch

Chapter IV: Analysts Want to Have Fun Too

It was the Year MCMXCII (1992). To make the fourth gathering, TFAWS, an even grander event, if this was even at all possible, more thermal and fluid analysis codes than ever (in the brief history of these gatherings thus far) were added to the curriculum. Special extracurricular events were also scheduled for attendees to relax and enjoy after a long day of thermal and fluid knowledge infusion. A trolley tour of the Cleveland domain (on which the Lewis Kingdom resides) was orchestrated. Tickets to view a Cleveland Indians baseball game were also made available. Unfortunately this second event proved to be less interesting to the masses due to the inability of the Cleveland Indians to produce many wins.

The most significant “re-addition” to the gathering was the presentation of papers. Four (IV) paper sessions were added that encompassed a broad spectrum of fluid and thermal applications by masters and apprentices alike. The paper sessions provided an excellent forum for analysts from near and far to share their ideas and their work. And last but not least, a Grand Master of Computational Fluid Dynamics (acronym – CFD), Dr. Suhas Patankar came to the gathering (in exchange for currency) to impart his vast knowledge to the eager masses of TFAWS.

When the fourth official gathering came to a close, the committee members were once again exuberant about their success but extremely exhausted. They would love to continue the tradition the following year, but they decided they needed help.

Chapter V: Too Much of a Good Thing

It was the Year MCMXCIII (1993) and help loomed over the horizon. Actually it loomed in a neighboring province of the Lewis Kingdom called the Ohio Aerospace Institute. It also had an acronym, OAI. Unfortunately the help wasn’t free – a currency exchange was necessary. In exchange for currency, OAI would provide lecture rooms and administrative support. Unfortunately, they would not be able to provide support for all the necessary computer rooms for the hands on classes – the crowning touch of the gathering! Thus the fifth gathering would now have to be spread over the Lewis Kingdom and the province of OAI. Committee members would have to dust off their chauffeur hats once more and perform their loyal duties.

Since an exchange of currency was necessary with OAI, the added cost of the gathering was unfortunately passed on to those who attended. Past gatherings cost no more than two hundred and fifty (CCL) dollars. This year the cost would escalate to three hundred and twenty five (CCCXXV) dollars. Those already indentured to the Lewis Kingdom and its sibling kingdoms however paid no patronage as was their right.

The committee members were continually challenging themselves to make the gathering more spectacular than the last. They packed the already busy schedule with more hands on classes and papers. No less than forty (XL) papers were presented. The Grand Master of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Dr. Suhas Patankar, came back for an encore presentation. They also added a new element to the gathering. Four (IV) keynote speakers were invited from lands near and far to speak on subjects that were near and dear to them and of course related to something thermal or fluid. Each had four (IV) hours to impress the TFAWS masses with their individual mastery. Notable among these speakers was Dr. Simon Ostrach, a professor at a nearby learning institution, Case Western Reserve University.

Once again tickets were made available to a Cleveland Indians baseball game and once again due to the inability of the Cleveland Indians to produce many wins the masses of TFAWS did not mass to the event.

During the fifth gathering, the committee members soon realized that in their good intentions to make the gathering a thermal and fluid analyst’s heart’s desire that they may have gone to excess. So many classes, presentations, and papers, and so little time – what to choose? The gathering was already 5 (V) days long and jam packed with such goodies to make the masses of TFAWS lack for nothing but time.

The audience, while appropriate in size for such a gathering, was spread too thin across the numerous simultaneous events. Vendors complained that too many people went to the paper presentations. Paper presenters complained that too many people went to the vendor demonstrations. The masters that conducted the hands on classes and lectures complained that their competitors were giving classes and lectures during the same time period. The complaints and finger pointing for the small attendance of individual events were many. The committee still wanted to continue the tradition of TFAWS the following year so these concerns needed to be addressed and remedied.

Chapter VI: Vendors vs. Papers

It was the Year MCMXCIV (1994) and a decision was reached on how to handle the issues that arose from the previous gathering (last paragraph, Chapter V). The decision was not a unanimous one in the least, but it was a compromise. The vendor demonstrations would occupy the entire Wednesday of the gathering, unencumbered by simultaneous paper presentations or hands on classes. The booths for the setup of their wares would be placed directly outside of the classrooms where the masses of TFAWS could easily and casually browse after their lessons. The uneasiness of this decision was that the paper presentations were still left to do battle with the hands on classes. Unfortunately there was nowhere else to place them. Although the number of classes was reduced there still was not enough time in a five (V) day week to accommodate for the paper presentations having their own singular special day. Some on the committee were actually serious in suggesting the gathering be extended to include the weekend. That did not get very far.

The vendor demonstrations did have some fair competition amongst themselves, however. Two (II) vendor demonstrations were performed simultaneously, one fluid and one thermal. The Grand Master of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Dr. Suhas Patankar, came back for a third encore presentation. The new element of the great sixth gathering was the presentation of specialty codes developed within the Lewis Kingdom. Masters of three (III) such codes where invited to give 1 (I) hour lectures about their respective magnificence.

One thing that has yet to be mentioned thus far in this tale is food. Food is very important. It can make or break a gathering. A cardinal rule of an official gathering that should never be broken is: “if people are fed they are happy.” Unfortunately there were some on the committee that felt that the food being provided by the food preparers of the OAI province was slightly lacking. To be fair, it wasn’t any worse than the food provided by the food preparers of the Lewis Kingdom during the gatherings that were held during the pre-OAI era. Frustrated after all this time of food insufficiency, some committee members took matters into their own hands. They went themselves to the local market and purchased food of their liking. This food was set out for the TFAWS masses throughout the day to feast upon between breaks during their thermal and fluid lessons.

At the end of the great sixth gathering, as expected, there were complaints that the paper presentations and the specialty code presentations were held simultaneously with hands on classes which made the attendance smaller in the former. The motto that some committee members were now sporting was: “you cannot please all.”

Everyone absolutely, positively, unequivocally loved the food.

Chapter VII: The Year Without

It was the Year MCMXCV (1995). At the end of last year’s gathering of TFAWS, critical mass was finally reached. Committee members were tired and overwrought from the meticulous planning of events for the several gatherings that had annually past. Even though OAI was involved, a good majority of the work still rested on the committee members’ shoulders. The gallant committee members just wanted a break to revert back to their analytical worlds. Thus they did what some thought was unthinkable, and cancelled TFAWS for this year. The official word was that the gathering would now be held every other year.

 Chapter VIII: The Sibling Kingdoms Unite

It was the Year MCMXCVI (1996) and the seventh gathering, TFAWS, was on. The committee members were well rested and ready to plan, and OAI was willing to help yet again. Things were going to be somewhat different this year than previous years. Firstly, the vendor demonstrations were given an official name (and of course an official acronym), Product Overview Lectures (POLs). These were 2 (II) hour lectures provided by the vendors trying to solicit their wares to the TFAWS masses. This then would hopefully lead to a potential Hands On Session (HOS) in which anyone at the gathering could schedule a one on one computer lesson with the vendor. Secondly, Hands On Classes (HOCs) were now limited to the staples of the gathering, i.e. the lofty code SINDA/FLUINT and TSS (which by now had become lofty in its own right). Thirdly, there would now be Seminars on topics thermal and fluid which would last only one (I) TFAWS day. Notable among those who presented the Seminars was Grand Master Dr. Robert Siegel back for an encore performance on thermal radiation. Papers Sessions (no acronym!?) would still be a part of the great seventh gathering but for this year there were no more than 5 (V). There was no preferential treatment for any event. All were scheduled to have competition with the others – a survival of the fittest for sure.

One of the most significant events of the gathering was the formation of a special union of those indentured to the Lewis Kingdom and those indentured to its sibling kingdoms. They called the union the NASA Delegates (no acronym). It was decided at this forum of NASA Delegates that TFAWS could be held every year once again if every other year it were hosted by a sibling kingdom. Email lists were constructed so that masters and apprentices of thermal and fluid analysis from lands near and far could chat amongst each other via the electronic domain.

The gathering was also decreased to only 4 (IV) instead of 5 (V) TFAWS days. The reason for this was to give those traveling back to their faraway lands the opportunity to leave the gathering guilt free from missing any valuable thermal and fluids lessons.

Chapter IX: The First Gathering in a Faraway Land

It was the Year MCMXCVII (1997) and the eighth gathering, TFAWS, was on but in a land far from the Lewis Kingdom. It was being held in a province of the Johnson Kingdom called the University of Houston, Clearlake. The Johnson Kingdom was a sibling of the Lewis Kingdom.

In an unprecedented move, the committee orchestrating the eighth gathering required a currency exchange with those indentured to its kingdom and sibling kingdoms. In previous years no patronage was required. Somehow, the clever committee members found a loophole around this restriction. The amount of the currency exchange was still a lot less for those indentured than for those who were not. The current rate for the latter had risen to four hundred (CD) dollars. The rate for the former was only one hundred and fifty (CL) dollars.

The idea of the gathering having a theme was also contrived. Since the Johnson Kingdom liked to keep their heads far above the clouds it was not surprising that the first official theme was “Spacecraft Analysis and Design.”

The eighth gathering followed the previous year’s decision to have TFAWS last only four (IV) days. However, they broke the most sacred tradition established thus far. They did not abide by the established colors of TFAWS.
A moment of silence, please …

Chapter X: A Life of Its Own

It was the Year MCMXCVIII (1998) and the ninth gathering, TFAWS, was back at the Lewis Kingdom. By now this grand gathering was an entity in itself with a life and breath all its own. Important people were beginning to take notice. The NASA Chief Engineer welcomed all those who came from near and far to the gathering. He was from the Imperial Kingdom that held jurisdiction over all the NASA sibling kingdoms.

The gathering was officially extended to four and one half (IV.V) TFAWS days. This way it was still possible for those traveling back to their faraway lands the opportunity to leave the gathering guilt free from missing any valuable thermal and fluids lessons. The theory of Darwin was once again imposed and no preferential treatment was given for any event. All venues had to compete with one another for a captive audience.

The committee also followed suit with last year’s sibling committee and created a theme for the ninth gathering, “Engineering the Future.”

Once again tickets were made available to a Cleveland Indians baseball game and once again due to the inability of the Cleveland Indians to produce many wins the masses of TFAWS did not mass to the event … only kidding! This time the masses did go because the Cleveland Indians finally were in the throws of winning seasons since the last time this was spoken of (see Chapter 5).

Chapter XI: On the Road Again

It was the Year MCMXCIX (1999) and the tenth gathering, TFAWS, was being held at yet another sibling kingdom, the Marshall Kingdom. More specifically it was being held in a province of the Marshall Kingdom called the University of Alabama, Huntsville. The theme for this gathering was “Engineering Excellence: Tools and Techniques.”

The committee decided to change a couple of naming conventions established by the Lewis Kingdom. Instead of Seminars there were Short Courses. There were also General Sessions, where all those who massed to TFAWS could attend without the concern of missing any thermal or fluid lessons since no other venues were scheduled during these General Sessions. They also decided to extend the gathering once more to five (V) full TFAWS days.

Dr. Suhas Patankar came back for a fourth encore presentation of his specialty lecture on CFD. Also making a second encore presentation on CFD was Dr. Robert Cochran. His first appearance was at the previous year’s TFAWS at the Lewis Kingdom.

The sibling kingdoms seemed to share a reckless abandon in not abiding by the established traditional TFAWS colors. Again the most sacred tradition established thus far was tossed aside. Another moment of silence, please …

Chapter XII: Putting on the Ritz

It was the Year MM (2000) and the honored colors of TFAWS were sacrosanct once again. However, names of kingdoms apparently were not so sacrosanct. The Lewis Kingdom had been overthrown and was now named the Glenn Kingdom. OAI was still retained and they continued their aid in coordinating the eleventh gathering. However the committee felt that they needed to expand the gathering in a way that the physical province of OAI could not provide. They found a perfect location in Cleveland Proper (the now Glenn Kingdom resided on the Cleveland domain). It was called the Forum and they specialized in providing an exceptional environment for such gatherings in exchange for a large amount currency. Since the currency exchange needed to finance this endeavor was quite a bit, an increase in currency exchange was needed from those who would attend the gathering. The current rate increased to a record high of five hundred and seventy five (DLXXV) dollars. For those indentured to any of the sibling kingdoms, the rate increased to a record high of four hundred and seventy five (CDLXXV) dollars.

The masses that flocked to the eleventh gathering were quite pleased with their accommodations and felt that the increase in the currency exchange rate was well worth it. They were treated like royalty. Food fit for kings was continuously provided and was never the same twice during the five (V) full days of TFAWS (yes the decision from the previous year’s gathering to increase the number of TFAWS days was imitated)

The masses loved being in the heart of Cleveland Proper. There were so many activities to partake in and a personal vehicle was not necessary to get to and fro. An evening dinner on the Good Time III, a riverboat, was also planned and was the hit of the gathering. They also loved going to a Cleveland Indians baseball game (the Indians were still doing well).

But, back to the thermal and fluids of the gathering… The theme was “Bridging the Gap Between Research and Design.” To compliment this theme Dr. Simon Ostrach came back for an encore presentation. He gave a Keynote Address, “Research for Design”. The committee members followed suit with the Marshall Kingdom committee and replaced the Seminars with Short Courses. The presentation of specialty codes was given the name of Special Topics and was greatly expanded for this gathering. No less than eleven (XI) codes developed throughout the sibling kingdoms were presented.

Another new idea was implemented regarding the POLs (remember the vendor Product Overview Lectures?) that did not involve a name change. Everyday except the last day of TFAWS for two (II) hours after the lunch break, vendors were given one half (I/II?) of an hour to talk about their wares. Only two vendors presented simultaneously and they were polar opposite (i.e., fluid and thermal). No other venues were presented during this time. Paper presentations were also given the privilege of having no other venues competing with it. The only competition was that from another paper session.

The masses of TFAWS that year left the gathering happy, entertained, full of food, and new knowledge of thermal and fluids analysis.

Chapter XIII: The Legacy Goes On

And so the saga of TFAWS continues on. The twelfth gathering in the Year MMI (2001) held in the Marshall Kingdom once more, survived the trials of sinister dragon attacks in neighboring domains. In the Year MMII (2002) the tradition of bringing back the gathering to the now Glenn Kingdom after a year’s respite was not upheld. There were young apprentice analysts in the Johnson Kingdom who had vim and vigor (not unlike the original apprentice analysts in the early days of TFAWS in the Lewis Kingdom – the land said no longer to exist) that wanted to take on the honored responsibility of hosting the gathering.

The future story of TFAWS remains to be told. But for those who dare to take on the noble task of hosting the grand gathering of thermal and fluid analysts from lands near and far always remember…

Honor the Sacred Colors …