Article ID: CBB000930722

Turbulenz -- ein problemhistorischer Abriss (2008)


Turbulence in Perspective In the beginning of the 20th century, the riddles of turbulent flow became articulated as the turbulence problem. It comprised two parts: the onset of turbulence, which was conceived as an instability of laminar flow; and fully developed turbulence, for which both empirical (mixing length) and statistical theories of turbulence were developed. Up until the present time turbulence research has been inter-and transdisciplinary, attracting scientists and engineers from a variety of specialties and with diverse scientific and technological orientations. For this reason, turbulence research is also an interesting case for the sociological study of knowledge production in technoscience. The article traces the history of the turbulence problem in the first half of the 20th century, when the major pathways for its attack were first outlined and explored. The ups and downs of the turbulence problem in different local and cultural settings provide a unique opportunity to study a technoscience in the making, beyond sweeping assumptions about science-technology relations. Present fluid dynamicists rate the turbulence problem still as unsolved, but this evaluation should not prevent historians of science and technology from tackling it by their own means: it safeguards the historical analysis against the pitfall of whig history. Keywords: turbulence - fluid dynamics - technoscience - L. Prandtl - von Kármán - G. I. Taylor

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Authors & Contributors
Tisza, Laszlo
Eckert, Michael
Shi, John Z.
Isaenko, Oleksandr
Balibar, Sebastien
Tazzioli, Rossana
Science in Context
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Physics in Perspective
Social Epistemology
Research in the History of Technology
Fluid mechanics
Science and technology, relationships
Science and culture
Science and society
Tisza, Laszlo
Prandtl, Ludwig
Finch, George Ingle
Thomson, George Paget
Wells, Herbert George
Sommerfeld, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century, late
19th century
18th century
United States
Imperial College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Universität Göttingen
Bell Telephone Laboratories

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