Affordable materials for geoscience teaching demonstrations


The DIYnamics team is composed of students, professors, and scientists, originally all at UCLA but now with the core team spanning numerous institutions across America and with users spanning across the world!


Spencer Hill

Spencer Hill (Postdoc, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University)
Along with Juan Lora and Jon Aurnou, Spencer co-founded DIYnamics and is a co-director. Spencer loves using rotating tanks to teach core science concepts, and his dream is to put a DIYnamics rotating tank kit in every science classroom in the country. Link to Spencer’s webpage

Jonathan Aurnou

Jonathan Aurnou (Professor, UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)
Along with Juan Lora and Spencer Hill, Jon co-founded DIYnamics and is currently a co-director. He considers few things as satisfying as developing inexpensive, portable rotating tables for teaching core geoscience topics. Thus, he is so pleased to be a part of the DIYnamics project. Link to Jon’s webpage

Team members (in alphabetical order)

Ankit Barik

Ankit Barik (Postdoc, Johns Hopkins University)

Ankit is a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University and works on simulations of planetary interiors and magnetic fields. He got interested in DIYnamics because of a live demo of the Lego kit by Jon Aurnou and Noris Khoo at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2018. He loved the fact that even a theoretician like himself could now perform small scale fluid dynamics experiments at home without the need for expensive equipment.

Mirjam Glessmer

Mirjam Glessmer (oceanographer and science communicator)
Mirjam introduced #KitchenOceanography in her oceanography classes back in 2011 as a way to give students the opportunity to see phenomena right in front of them instead of only describing them mathematically, and to help them practice observational, discussion and lab skills, using only materials that are available in most kitchens. Discovering the DIYnamics rotating tables meant that students could now even manipulate and observe the influence of rotation on large-scale ocean circulation, which Mirjam has introduced in Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean classes in both Kiel (Germany) and Bergen (Norway). Link to Mirjam’s website

Alex Gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University)
Alex joined the DIYnamics project in September 2019. He loves using rotating tanks in the fluid dynamics classes he teaches at ISU. His goal is to transition to placing more focus on applications rather than theory in his classes. He is excited about using the DIYnamics’ rotating tanks in outreach activities to inspire a new generation of scientists, especially those from underrepresented STEM groups. Link to Alex’s ISU Research Group webpage

Henry Gonzalez

Henry Gonzalez (SPINLab Project Manager, UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)
Henry Gonzalez is currently serving as the SPINLab Project Manager and Space Magnetism Lab Manager, developing/coordinating everything from spacecraft instruments to geophysical fluid dynamics experiments. His extensive knowledge in prototyping has paved the way to new modeling systems for understanding the interiors and atmospheres of planets. Furthermore, he is working on the Henry III (H3) Model which will be a portable geoshysical system that will be used for classroom teaching of advanced concepts as well as outreach at public events and interactive K-12 STEM demonstrations.

Norris Khoo (Undergraduate, UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)
As part of his undergraduate research at UCLA, Norris developed the LEGO-Based Tables for the DIYnamics Project. His research was supported in part by the Straus Family Fund for Undergraduate Opportunity.

Marianna Linz

Marianna Linz (Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University)
Marianna is an atmospheric dynamicist and physical oceanographer. Her research focuses on large-scale geophysical fluid dynamics and transport. Current work in her group includes quantifying the stratospheric circulation from satellite data, explaining the detailed shape of midlatitude temperature distributions, and most recently, environmental effects on transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Marianna got her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Physical Oceanography and was a postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. She is passionate about teaching and outreach, and wrote a children’s picture book about climate change.

Taylor Lonner

Taylor Lonner (UCLA Geophysics-Astrophysics dual B.Sci. 2020)
Taylor specializes in the design and production of many of the rotating tank systems used by the DIYnamics team. Working with the engineers at MiniTec (, she designs systems that can be ordered in sets and assembled by universities and institutions without requiring additional machining or power tools. This work is essential to the DIYnamics project’s main goal of making fluid dynamics experiments accessible and affordable in classrooms and lecture halls around the world.

Juan Lora

Juan Lora (Assistant Professor, Yale University, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences)
Juan co-founded DIYnamics along with Jon Aurnou and Spencer Hill, served as DIYnamics co-directer for multiple years, and remains actively involved in DIYnamics today. Juan is interested in using science demos to illustrate abstract physical phenomena in tangible and exciting ways, and to bring the joy of science to non-scientists and students of all backgrounds (and maybe help inspire a few future scientists). Link to Juan’s webpage

Jordyn Moscoso

Jordyn Moscoso (Graduate student, UCLA Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences)
Jordyn is a graduate student in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department studying oceanography and ocean dynamics. She is excited to be a part of the DIYnamics team and is working to bring DIYnamics into the curriculum in the AOS department. She is also a member of the Society of Women Geoscientsts and uses DIYnamics to give hands on experiences to women, girls, and people of other classically underrepresented genders in STEM.


Alex Chen

Alex Chen (Undergraduate, UCLA Deptartment of Computer Science)
Alex developed the third generation of DigiPyRo, with emphasis on speed and accessibility. His work allows students to play with rotating reference frames and gain intuition for the Coriolis force by simply visiting a website.

DJ James

David (DJ) James (PhD student, UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)
DJ has reanimated the DigiPyRo (now diyrotate) Python script to work in Python 3. This script digitally rotates a movie around a selected axis point. This allows students to experiment with the Coriolis acceleration by selecting their own digitally rotating reference frame, and is proving to be an excellent tool for a number of different DIYnamics exercises. He is starting his PhD work with Prof. Lars Stixrude at UCLA in the fall of 2020.


Sean Faulk

Sean Faulk (Student, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA)
Sean helped write the lab instructions and organize the first outreach trips for the DIYnamics project. As a Ph.D. student in the UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, he studied climates on other planets and moons, most of all Saturn’s moon Titan. And he loved going out to schools to play with rotating tanks and help students learn about planetary atmospheres! After finishing his Ph.D. in 2018, Dr. Faulk made the leap from outer space to human bodies, as he is now pursuing his M.D. as a medical student at the UCLA Medical School.

Jonathan Mitchell

Jonathan Mitchell (Associate Professor, UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences and Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences)
Jonathan has been using rotating tanks for years and helped Juan and Sean get started with them. He also has incorporated the DIYnamics tables into multiple classes he has taught, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Link to Jonathan’s webpage

Sam May

Samuel May (University of California, San Diego)
Sam developed the V1 DigiPyRo (now DIYrotate) software. This digital rotation software helps students gain intuition for the Coriolis force through digitally transformed rotating reference frames. DIYrotate site.

Raul Reyes (Undergraduate, UCLA Dept. of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)
Raul created the original baroclinic eddies video under Juan’s guidance.

Event Volunteers and DIYnamics users

Ultimately, the core team members are just the tip of the DIYnamics iceburg! What matters most is how much the DIYnamics materials get used “in the wild” by teachers, students, and science communicators, in classrooms, exhibits, public events, and on and on.

Check out our blog for posts on various events that the Core Team and other groups have put on using the DIYnamics materials. Those posts provide shout outs to the main people involved and supporting cast for each one.

Are you using DIYnamics in your class or science outreach event? We would love for you to guest-author a Field Report post on it! It can be as short as a couple paragraphs or as long as you wish. The more pictures the better, and we can even include videos by uploading them to our YouTube page and embedding them within the post. Just shoot us a message at and we’ll work with you to get it posted!