Welcome to our new website!
June 2, 2021

001 - Introduction

001 - Introduction

Let's do this. For the first time... Welcome to the Fire Science Show!

My name is Wojciech Wegrzynski, and I'm with the Building Research Institute (ITB) in Warsaw, Poland.

In this episode you will learn who I am, where do I come from and why I have decided to start a fire science podcast. I'm sharing my journey from a frontline CFD engineer to a professor at the ITB. I'm still learning fire science, actually, I'm probably spending more time learning than ever in my life. This is why I look forward to doing this podcast - I hope to learn from the best of the field and take you on this journey with me. 

I hope you will enjoy the podcast. See you at your favourite podcast app, every Wednesday from now!


---- LinkedIn Discussion thread ----
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6807701129024061440

---- Some links ----

If you would like to dig through my research, you can find most of it here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wojciech-Wegrzynski

And if you are mostly interested in our wind and fire coupled modelling, the papers can be accessed here:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10694-018-0748-5
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10694-018-0749-4

(psst... if you do not have access, send me an e-mail at w.wegrzynski@itb.pl and I will be thrilled to share it with you)

If you would like to connect with me, you can find me on
Twitter - https://twitter.com/WojciechITB
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/wojciech-w%C4%99grzy%C5%84ski-a3626960/

Transcript
Wojciech Wgrzyski:

Oh, wow. So this is a this is the moment. I've been waiting for this for so long. So let me take my time and do this properly for the first time. Welcome to the Fire Science Show. My name is Wojciech Wegrzynski, and I'm thrilled to be your host. Today, I'm going to tell you a little bit about this project. What drove me into recording a podcast on fire science? And what are my ambitions related to this one. I hope you will enjoy this episode and two other episodes that that are going to air together with this one. And yeah, I hope you will enjoy the whole of the podcast. I've got some amazing stuff ready for you. I have a fantastic set of guests arriving here already and lined up for interviews. I'm a bit stressed actually, because these are some powerful names from the science industry. But I hope that in the friendly atmosphere of having a chat over important topics of fire science, I will be able to get as much knowledge from them as possible, learn as much as possible and share it all with you. So before we jump into the episode, there's one more thing to do. Well, that's play the intro. Welcome to the fire science show. My name is Wojciech Wegrzynski, and I will be your host. Hey, everybody. Good to have you here. So in this episode, I'm going to share a bit where I am. Where did they come from, and why there is this crazy pole with uncomprehensible name, spamming all your social feeds and starting a podcast on fire science. So to introduce myself properly, my name is fortune greensky. I'm with the Building Research Institute ITB in Poland. Currently I am a professor here and I'm Deputy Chief of fire research department. Being responsible for doing fire science and running one of Europe's biggest fire testing hubs. There is pretty much happening around here... My career started somewhere around 2010. Over a decade ago, when I've joined the ITB as frontman CFD engineer doing my simulations, models, preparing reports, communicating with clients, helping them do more efficient smoke control. And that world was absolutely fascinating. And that still is a big part of my life. Because now, 10 years later, I'm still doing the same things, quite often, still doing my models, still running my calculations, still enjoying that a lot. And with every project being surprised by something new. In the meantime, somewhere around 2013, I've decided that engineering is great, but I would really love to understand, why are we doing things like we do? What are the origins of our models? Why the models work like like they do and what's up with all the magic numbers around? How did they come up? How, how did we get to them? You know, when you start asking these questions, it's not easy to find answers. So you have to break through inpenetrable layers of scientific literature, sometimes very old literature written in a formidable language, that is not really helpful in understanding what what happened in the 70s or 80s. And how actually, these things became a reality that we face today. You also can realize that there is surprisingly a lot of ignorance in there. There are things passed down in our field for generations of engineers without reflecting why are we doing it like this? And is it truly the best and the correct way to do them? It seems that we're missing this ability to determine the origins of these methods or criteria, or models or tools, and just mindlessly apply them because that's the ways of how it's been done for generations. But yeah, you will learn a lot about this, listening to the podcast, let's go back to the story. My PhD was done on smoke control in, in large buildings such as shopping malls, I was investigating how the architecture impacts the flow of smoke. How does the quantity of smoke change while flowing through complex shapes of balconies and downstands. And in the end, what does that mean to the smoke control system. That was a truly fascinating journey, in which I've learned to do scale modeling and go learn to improve my CFD skills. And that took some years because I was doing this as a free agent. So I was just pursuing my PhD at ITB, as it has all the rights to give PhDs to people. Which meant that I was not... that was not the only thing that was on my mind. Everyday, I was doing consultancy work, commercial simulations. Also, in the meantime, I've picked another another thing that changed my life in a way. And that was the wind engineering. While working on some projects related to efficient smoke control of historical buildings, we had to use some really advanced wind modeling to really solve the issue. And once we've applied it in there, we've decided to try and do some science around it. And it was really remarkable that that we could include wind as a factor in our analysis, it was something that you have not seen very often. We didn't think that it was exceptional. It was a good piece of engineering. But discussing this subject and seeing the reaction of the society and all the feedback that we've received, we've realized that, wow, this combining with engineering and fire is not something done on every day. And that's when we've decided to maybe try and put it into a framework. And that's how after a few years of intense work, the coupled Wind and Fire modelling papers and fight technology were born for which we've received quite a lot of attention. We've been given NFPA Bigglestone award for the best paper in fire technology, which was amazing to receive, I have never expected that we will be given such an honor. And we had to pick up this award in San Antonio at the NFPA Expo was absolutely surreal to me. One year later, I've been also chosen as one of the SFPE 5 under 35 award recipients, which is an award that the SFPE gives to young leaders of the fire profession. That meant a lot to me to be recognized as as someone who can take leadership and that was one of the moments when I've truly decided that it's time to give back a bit to the community. And that's when I started thinking really strongly about doing the podcast today. Today I'm a I'm a professor. I've received my habilitation in Poland, which is kind of state awarded tenure. But I don't like really that, this titles and all this formalities. I would rather prefer thinking about myself as a chill Dude, that still just learning every day, probably learning more than ever in my life. And I spend so much time reading and learning and achieving new skills that helped me be better fire engineer. I think that's that's kind of a superpower to be able to continuously learn and improve. And that's another motivation for doing the podcast I want to learn from from the best there are. And because I'm an active scientists and engineer, I will take this venue every now and then to share with you some findings of my own and my research group. Which I think are quite cool. And I think it will also be able to learn a bit from us, see and hear our perspective on fire science, especially related to smoke control. I really hope that this part of the podcast will also be interesting to you, and you will enjoy it as much as the interviews. And regarding the interviews my goal is to reach the best guests I can find and make them share with me their most sacred tricks of the trade and the knowledge they possess. I hope it will all come out in this in this show. In the past, I have learned a lot, from conversations with my colleagues at conferences at workshops, obviously, last year has taken that out of my life and, and made it very difficult to achieve new knowledge in this form. But the memories are strong and very, and very nice. I've learned so much by just talking about fire science, discussing projects, research ideas, ideas for new equipment, new ways to measure things, new ways to remove smoke from buildings or make it less harmful to the building occupants. It's truly amazing how many great ideas were born at the beer in the pub, in a very, very informal setting. You think that as a scientist your place is in the lab, or maybe in a suit, communicating your knowledge. And, of course, that's a part of this, of this life. But the truly amazing things happen when you interact with your peers at at a very normal and friendly level, when all these artificial boundaries fall down, and you can truly discuss science without being ashamed that you don't know something and, and without being afraid to pitch ideas that seem crazy or impossible at start. This is where the best science is born. And when I had the opportunity to have a lot of this type of conversation, it was always shameful that it's just very intimate thing between me and the person on the other side. It was always a very small audience. While, I was often convinced that this is something that could actually benefit a lot of us fire researchers, engineers, architects, firefighters, or absolutely anyone who's interested in fire safety. So given a lot of thought I figured out maybe podcasts would be a way to still have the conversations, still interact with my with my colleagues and peers and learn from them, ask them tough questions, pitch stupid ideas and maybe get extremely valuable answers to them. And then share it with the world and have many more people benefit from the same talk being stored in here in the audio file for many years and available to anyone who wants to listen to that. I mean that's that's a powerful idea. And I truly believe it can be a success (if I did not believe that I would never started). So yeah, here I am. Today, the podcast is starting. I've so far I've done a few interviews with with fascinating people, including Professor Guillermo Rein, who's starring their episode number two on his fires or you can call them haze mega fires. Remarkable study that. If you can see that the scale is unbelievable that fires could have such a significant footprint over the planet in the lives of millions of people. In the third episode, you'll hear my good friend Dr. Gabrielle Vigne from JVVA in Spain. A researcher and engineer just like me, also fascinated by the world of fire science and engineering and trying to get the best of the both of the worlds, with whom I research visibility and smoke. And yeah, we're gonna discuss that a lot in episode number three. I've also had a chance to invite Dr. Matthew Bonner from Imperial College London to discuss facades and there's many more guests in line. So far, I have invited experts on evacuation, CFD, structural fire engineering, fire engineering in general, facades, artificial intelligence, large scale fire experiments and toxicity. So wow, that's a really varied and diverse set of guests and I'm absolutely sure every of them will have something very interesting to say. In fact, I must confess I am truly blessed with having so many friends in the world of fire science and... Not only that, but this friends that truly believe in this project, and they are willing to invest their time talking to me and sharing it with you. And I'm very thankful to them. I hope as this as this show grows, this will let me attract some speakers from outside of my circle of friends, I'm actually reaching out to some really high profile guests already. And the response is really good. So I hope to be able to bring you the best fire scientists there are. And yeah, bring all the leaders that have something important to say in here. And by leaders, and not necessarily mean professors, or the most distinguished members of the community. You know, the ones that have the most medals on their chest, like Soviet army generals, well, I will try to poach them as well, it will be great to, to discuss many things with them. But I'm also reaching out to PhD students, postdocs, and maybe even master's students who are just doing this new innovative things, and actually have quite a lot to say about their particular field of expertise. Usually, even more than the professor's do, because they get to touch it so intimately and in depth. So yeah, I'll try to bring here a really diverse array of guests in terms of their position, and I hope to bring and show you the, how diverse fire science is with all the fantastic people that are here. I really want to hear the varying opinions on important topics, hear different views, and maybe provoke some interesting conversations. And we'll see, maybe something nice starts in here. In the worst case, we'll just spend some fun time with with the guests. And that's not not a really bad outcome either. For you as my audience, I truly want to become the voice of my audience. So I'm really hoping for comments and I'm, it's very easy to reach me, you can find me on Twitter @firescienceshow handle or, or at my private account @WojciechITB, you can find me on LinkedIn, I think you can find me everywhere. It's not very, I'm not very well hidden person. So I would really love to hear from you. What what interests you what fuels you what you are looking in the world of fire science, maybe there's a topic that I should touch, maybe there's a guest that I should invite, maybe there is a technology that I should investigate, and let's know what I think about it. All these things get can lead to fascinating episodes, and actually probably the episodes that I am looking the most for. So if there are such things if there are interesting projects that I could do for you, if there are ways how can I serve the audience and be your voice in here? Please let me know, I'll do my best to to meet your expectations and deliver the content you want. So if you're if you're still listening to this, it means you are truly interested in receiving the fire science. So absolutely this show is meant for you. But I would love to ask you to share this new endeavor with your friends. Because I want to attract as big audience as possible. And it's not that I'm interested in pumping my statistics. Obviously, that's fantastic for my ego and makes me very happy to see such an interest around this show. But my ultimate goal is to share the fire science with people who may not necessarily know that they could benefit from it. I'm thinking about firefighters, architects, engineers, all kinds of students in topics related to fire. All the people that can have a little bit tougher than than us fire researchers in breaking through scientific papers and finding credible sources of knowledge. All the people who maybe do not even know that fire science exists and can bring some valuable knowledge to their everyday practice. This are the people that I truly want to find and reach with this show and if you hear in the episode and if you know someone who could benefit from it, please send it to them, share it on your socials. And let's spread the word hopefully making this this show available to everyone who could benefit from it. So, yeah, that's, that's a pretty thorough introduction on who I am, where I came from, and why I am doing this. I'm really happy to be here for you and really excited and terrified in a way while doing this. You know, it's not it's not easy to start something like that. And if I can be honest with you, I was thinking about this for definitely more than a year. It took me so much to finally invest in this invest time and and some efforts and start doing this. But I'm very happy that this finally happened. I'm really looking forward to the day one of the podcast and then every next Wednesday when new episodes will come. I really hope you will be there with me and I really hope you will receive your weekly dose of fun engineering and science packed together in one hour long radio show. I hope it will be fun. I know it will be fun. It is already fun for me. So yeah, I really appreciate you and see around my internet friends I have hope you have a great day, whatever you're doing and watch for the new episodes. Cheers.