Priv.-Doz. Dr. Julia Kowalski

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Julia Kowalski


Georesources and Materials Engineering


Junior Research Group Leader


Mathematical and Numerical Methods in Geosciences


Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES)
RWTH Aachen University
Schinkelstrasse 2
52056 Aachen

Phone: +49 241 80 99150
Fax: +49 241 80 628498


Professional Career

  • 2015 - now: coopted with the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering, RWTH Aachen
  • 2015 - now: Junior Research Group Leader at AICES, RWTH Aachen
    2012 - 2015: Research position at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany / project coordination of the research collaboration 'Enceladus Explorer'
  • 2011 - 2012: Analytic Specialist, McKinsey & Company, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 2010 - 2011: PostDoc at RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • 2005 - 2010: Research Assistant/ PostDoc / member of the RAMMS team at WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland

Research Interests

In my group we work on developing mathematical and numerical methods for applications in the geosciences. We are especially interested in situations that are characterized by multi-component, multi-phase, and multi-scale transport processes. Often these are further complicated by the presence of interfaces, e.g. a free-surface of a landslide, or the phase-interface of melting ice. Then, the formulation of a suitable mathematical model itself is challenging and part of the research question. Central aspects to our work are hence the derivation and analysis of mathematical systems of equations based upon simplifying assumptions and available data, as well as the development of tailored and efficient numerical solution strategies. The integrity of the computed results is analyzed by both verifying the numerical code, and validating the mathematical model. Especially the quality of model validation critically influences the predictive power of any simulation. Part of my research is hence also devoted to quantify the model error associated with simplifying assumptions in the context of specific applications.
Our application areas include modeling transport and melting processes in the cryosphere including ice, snow and permafrost, as well as modeling complex mass movements in the context of natural hazards and climate change impact research. My group is part of the Enceladus Explorer Initiative of the DLR German Space Administration, in which we develop innovative exploration concepts for future missions to the icy moons of our Solar System (details can be found here).

These keywords summarize my research interests:
mathematical and numerical methods in geosciences, scientific computing, applied mathematical modeling and differential equations, geophysical transport processes, processes in the cryosphere, free-surface flow, phase-change processes, thermal contact models, ice exploration, icy moons, avalanches, complex landslides

Student projects

Student projects are available. Please contact me directly!

Journal publications and proceedings articles

  1. Kowalski, J., Linder, P., Zierke, S., von Wulfen, B., Clemens, J., Konstantinidis, K., Ameres ,G., Hoffmann, R., Mikucki, J., Tulaczyk, S., Funke, O., Blandfort, D., Espe, C., Feldmann, M., Francke, G., Hiecker, S., Plescher, E., Schöngarth, S., Schüller, K., Dachwald, B., Digel, I., Artmann, G., Eliseev, D., Heinen, D., Scholz, F., Wiebusch, C., Macht, S., Bestmann, U., Reineking, T., Zetzsche, C., Schill, K., Fürstner, R., Niedermeier, H, Szumski,,A., Eissfeller, B., Naumann, U, Helbing, K., : Navigation Technology for Exploration of Glacier Ice With Maneuverable Melting Probes, Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 123, 53-70, 2016
  2. Schüller, K., Kowalski, J., Raback, P.: Curvilinear Melting - A Preliminary Experimental and Numerical Study, Int. Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 92, 884-892, 2016
  3. Konstantinidis, K., Flores Martinez, C., Dachwald, B., Ohndorf, A., Dykta, P., Bowitz, P., Rudolph, M., Digel, I., Kowalski J., Voigt, K., Fürstner, R: A lander mission to probe subglacial water on Saturn'ss moon Enceladus for life, Acta Astronautica, DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro. 2014.09.012, 2015
  4. Konstantinidis, K., Kowalski, J., Florez Martinez, C., Dachwald, B., Ewerhart, D., Fürstner, R: Some necessary technologies for in-situ astrobiology on Enceladus, Proc. 66th IAC, Jerusalem, 2015 
  5. Dachwald, B., Mikucki, J., Tulaczyk, S., Digel, I., Espe, C., Feldmann, M., Francke, G., Kowalski, J., Xu, C.: IceMole - A Maneuverable Probe for Clean In-Situ Analysis and Sampling of Subsurface Ice and Subglacial Aquatic Ecosystems , Ann. Glaciol. 55(65), 14-22, 2014
  6. Niedermeier, H., Clemens, J., Kowalski, J., Macht, S., Heinen, D., Hoffmann, R. Linder, P.: Navigation system for a research ice probe for Antarctic glaciers , IEEE/ION PLANS, 978-1-4799-3320-4/14, 2014
  7. Dachwald, B., Feldmann, M., Espe, C., Francke, G., Kowalski, J., Mikucki, J., Tulaczyk, S., Digel, I.: Development of a Maneuverable Subsurface Probe for Solar System Ices and Testing in Antarctica , 65th IAC, Toronto, 2014 
  8. Konstantinidis, K., Flores Martinez, C., Dachwald, B., Ohndorf, A., Dykta, P., Bowitz, P., Rudolph, M., Digel, I., Kowalski, J., Voigt, K., Förstner, R.: Mission and system design for a lander mission to probe the subglacial water of Saturns moon Enceladus for life , 65th IAC, Toronto, 2014 
  9. Kowalski, J., McElwaine, J.N: Shallow two-component gravity-driven flows with vertical variation , J. Fluid Mech 714, 434-462, 2013
  10. Olaru, A.M., Kowalski, J., Sethi, V., Blümich, B.: Exchange relaxometry of flows at small Péclet numbers in a glass bead pack , J. Magn. Reson. 220,32-44, 2012
  11. Fischer, J.-T., Kowalski, J., Pudasaini, S.P.: Topographic curvature effects in applied avalanche modelling , Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 74/75, 21-30, 2012
  12. Knobloch, V., Kowalski, J., Büsiger, P., Kozerke, S.: Probabilistic Streamline Estimation from Accelerated Fourier Velocity Encoded Measurements , Proc. Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 19, 2011
  13. Bühler Y., Christen M., Kowalski J., Bartelt P.: Sensitivity of snow avalanche simulations to digital elevation model quality and resolution , Ann. Glaciol. 52(58), 72-80., 2011
  14. Christen, M., Kowalski, J., Bartelt, P.: RAMMS: Numerical simulation of dense snow avalanches in three-dimensional terrain , Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 63(1-2), 1-14, 2010
  15. Christen, M., Bartelt, P., Kowalski, J.: Back calculation of the In den Arelen avalanche with RAMMS: Interpretation of model results , Ann. Glaciol. 51(54), 161-168, 2010
  16. Fischer, J.-T., Kowalski, J., Pudasaini, S.P., Miller, S.A.: Dynamic Avalanche Modeling in Natural Terrain , Proc. ISSW 2009, 448-453, 2009
  17. Christen, M., Bartelt, P., Kowalski, J., Stoffel, L.: Calculation of dense snow avalanches in three-dimensional terrain with the numerical simulation programm RAMMS , Proc. ISSW 2008, 709-716, 2009
  18. McArdell, B., Bartelt, P., Kowalski, J.: Field observations of basal forces and fluid pore pressure in a debris flow , Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L07406, 2007
  19. Heierli, J., Purves, S.P. Felber, A., Kowalski, J.: Verification of nearest-neighbours interpretations in avalanche forecasting , Ann. Glaciol. 38, 84-88, 2004

Other publications

  1. Baumgartner, T., Wunderlich, F., Jaunich, A., Sato, T., Bundy, G., Grießmann, N., Kowalski, J., Burghardt, S., Hanebrink, S: Lighting the way: Perspectives on the global lighting market, McKinsey&Company, 2012
  2. Kowalski, J.: Streamline estimation from sparsely sampled q-space Magnetic Resonance data , Master Thesis in Medical Physics, ETH Zurich, 2010.
  3. Kowalski, J.: Two-phase Modeling of Debris Flows , Ph.D.Thesis, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, ISBN:3866645244, 2008.
  4. Kowalski, J.: Dynamics of Granular Material Avalanches and Numerical Approximations of Savage-Hutter Models , Diploma Thesis, University of Augsburg, 2004.