Born: February 4, 1875 in Freising, Bavaria, Germany
Ludwig Prandtl was a German Physicist famous for his work in
aeronautics. He qualified at Munchen in 1900 with a thesis on elastic
stability and held the position of Professor of Applied Mechanics at
Gottingen for forty-nine years (from 1904 until his death there on
August 15, 1953).
Died: August 15, 1953 in Gottingen, Germany
In 1925, Prandtl became the Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
for Fluid Mechanics. His discovery in 1904 of the Boundary Layer
which adjoins the surface of a body moving in a fluid led to an
understanding of skin friction drag and of the way in which
streamlining reduces the drag of airplane wings and other moving
bodies. His work on wing theory, published in 1918 - 1919, followed
that of F.W. Lanchester (1902-1907), but was carried out independently
and elucidated the flow over airplane wings of finite span.
Prandtl's work and decisive advances in boundary layer and wing
theories became the basic material of aeronautics. He also made
important contributions to the theories of supersonic flow and of
turbulence, and contributed much to the development of wind tunnels
and other aerodynamic equipment. In addition, he devised the
soap-film analogy for the torsion of non-circular sections and wrote
on the theory of plasticity and of meteorology.