|Author||: Theodore Von Karman|
Pages – 224
Aerodynamics: Selected Topics in the Light of Their Historical Development by Theodore Von Karman
The text corresponds to the author’s Messenger Lectures at Cornell University in the spring of 1953. An overview of the history of aerodynamic thought, aimed at the non-specialist as well as students of aeronautics, the book conveys the essential ideas in our understanding of the science of flight. Written at a time when supersonic flight was but six years old and orbital spaceflight was four years in the future, the book remains remarkably fresh. The text is enlivened by von Karman’s wit and reminiscences of many of the greats of twentieth century aerodynamics. The references at the end of each of the six chapters, many extending into the nineteenth century, are a delightful bonus, underlining how our present aerodynamic theory has roots that extend well before the advent of heavier-than-air flight. Only the author’s speculation on the potential of spaceflight is dated. Yet even this provides a fascinating window into the mind of one of the masters of aeronautics.