The Wright brothers achieved powered flight in 1903, but in the years immediately following the major contributions to aerodynamic theory were made by German scientists.
The mathematician Felix Klein established an institute for applied mechanics at Göttingen University for the interdisciplinary investigation of technical problems through rigorous scientific analysis. The first director of this institute was Ludwig Prandtl, one of the creators of the modern field of fluid mechanics. Prandtl introduced the boundary-layer concept that was to become central to the study of flight. Later, Prandtl's student, Theodore von Kármán established a similar facility at the Polytechnic Institute at Aachen. His major theoretical investigations included the nature of vortices and turbulent flow.
Bringing Aerodynamics to America provides a fascinating look at the personalities and interactions of the principals, the institutions that nurtured them and that they developed, and the content of the theories that established their reputations in aerodynamics. It details the efforts to bring von Kármán to Pasadena to set up a center for the study of theoretical aerodynamics based on the Göttingen model, an institution that would help to lay the groundwork for the future supremacy of the United States in air power. And in telling von Kármán's story it also brings to life the literal transfer of technology and scientific expertise in aeronautics, nuclear physics, and other fields as waves of European scientists fled the rising spectre of anti-Semitism.
Paul A. Hanle is Chairman of the Department of Space Science and Exploration, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
|Product dimensions:||10.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)|