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Meet Jonathan Leung, new Assistant Professor in Rail Vehicle Technology

Publicerad 2024-04-08

From Calgary to Stockholm, Jonathan shares insights into his path towards excellence in mechanical engineering and his innovative contributions to sustainable railway maintenance at KTH.

Can you share your journey towards becoming an assistant professor at KTH?

Jonathan Leung, Photo: private

"Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, I ventured to the University of Waterloo for my undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, embracing a cooperative education program. Post-graduation, I pursued M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology, focusing on materials science and engineering, specifically on wind turbine gearbox bearings. Transitioning to an independent researcher posed significant challenges, necessitating a shift from a structured academic environment to self-directed research. This journey was enriched by engaging with the research community, leading to valuable collaborations and mentorship."

"My postdoctoral journey brought me to Stockholm, where I delved into railway system research, particularly in understanding damage mechanisms at the wheel-rail interface. This work was foundational for my appointment as an Assistant Professor at KTH, where I now contribute to the Rail Vehicles sector."

What is the focus of your research now?

"My research aims at crafting sustainable maintenance strategies for railways, focusing on reducing costs and enhancing the maintenance process's sustainability. A key aspect is developing data-driven solutions for managing wheel-rail interface (WRI) degradation, which significantly impacts operational costs. By employing empirical and computational models to simulate and predict WRI damage, we explore the effects of dynamic loads on wear and fatigue crack formation. The initiative is to create an Integrated Multiscale Computational Modeling (IMCM) framework that combines machine learning, multibody simulations, and finite element methods. This approach aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how operational and maintenance actions affect WRI damage, leading to optimized railway maintenance solutions. The development of the IMCM framework will facilitate the identification of key operational parameters affecting WRI damage, potentially integrating various scientific disciplines to enhance predictive model accuracy and efficiency."

Apart from your new role, what else do you do?

"Living in Stockholm, I enjoy running, hiking, and exploring the local scenery, reminiscent of the Canadian landscape. My free time is often spent cooking Cantonese cuisine, a nod to my family heritage, and indulging in handicrafts like patchwork quilting and miniatures. These hobbies provide a delightful balance to my academic pursuits, allowing me to explore my creative side while staying connected to my roots."

Jonathan's three advice to young researchers

  1. Cultivate a curious mindset: Stay eager to learn and explore both within and outside your field. This openness leads to discovering unique solutions and broadening your perspectives. Practice curiosity in everyday activities and interactions.
  2. Enhance communication skills: Effective written and oral communication is key in academia for sharing ideas and fostering collaborations. Engage in activities like conferences and leadership roles to refine these skills.
  3. Prioritize well-being and balance: Navigate the highs and lows of academic life by maintaining a healthy work-life balance and taking care of your mental health. Support and seek support within your community during challenging times.