I was moved and honored when the Editors of the asked me to write a biography of Professor Van Dyke. I did my Ph.D. with Milton in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since the first time that I met him almost 35 years ago, I have admired and respected him as a scientist but also have enjoyed his kindness, modesty, and wit. A few years ago, several of Milton’s students organized a birthday celebration for him. His wife, Sylvia, wrote a biography of him as part of the informal proceedings volume. In writing this article, I have drawn liberally from that biography as well as from other written and oral recollections of Milton.

I also discuss some of Milton’s technical work. The emphasis and perspective on these works is my own, including, of course, any possible misinterpretations. Prior to becoming a full-time graduate student at Stanford, I had worked in the Re-entry Aerodynamics Group at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California. Thus, I was quite familiar with several of Milton’s papers on supersonic and hypersonic flow. Some of this work and follow-up work by other NACA and NASA scientists was used by us virtually on a daily basis. In addition to Milton’s technical mathematics and fluid mechanics and his personal history, I highlight his extensive “public service” work. These largely unsung contributions bring many benefits to the worldwide fluid mechanics community. Perhaps most obviously, Milton co-founded the more than 30 years ago. He has been the principal guide of this most important repository of our professional knowledge ever since.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Literature Cited

  1. Allen HJ, Eggers AJ. 1958. A study of the motion and aerodynamic heating of ballistic missiles entering the earth's atmosphere at high supersonic speeds.. NACA Rept. 1381 [Google Scholar]
  2. Ames Res. Staff 1953. Equations, tables, and charts for compressible flow.. NACA Rep. 1135 [Google Scholar]
  3. Jones RT. 1946. Thin oblique airfoils at supersonic speed.. NACA TN 1107 [Google Scholar]
  4. Kaplun S. 1957. Low Reynolds number flow past a circular cylinder.. J. Math. Mech. 6:595–603 [Google Scholar]
  5. Van Dyke MD. 1951. First- and second-order theory of supersonic flow past bodies of revolution.. J. Aero. Sci. 18:161–79 [Google Scholar]
  6. Van Dyke MD. 1952. A study of second-order supersonic flow theory.. PhD thesis. Calif. Inst. Tech
  7. Van Dyke MD. 1956. The slender elliptic cone as a model for nonlinear supersonic flow theory.. J. Fluid Mech. 1:1–15 [Google Scholar]
  8. Van Dyke MD. 1958a. A model of supersonic flow past blunt axisymmetric bodies, with application to Chester's solution.. J. Fluid Mech. 3:515–22 [Google Scholar]
  9. Van Dyke MD. 1958b. The supersonic blunt-body problem—review and extension.. J. Aero/Space Sci. 25:485–96 [Google Scholar]
  10. Van Dyke MD. 1970. Extension of Goldstein's series for the Oseen drag of a sphere.. J. Fluid Mech. 44:365–72 [Google Scholar]
  11. Van Dyke MD. 1975. Perturbation Methods in Fluid Mechanics. Stanford, CA: Parabolic Press. Annot. Ed [Google Scholar]
  12. Van Dyke MD. 1982. An Album of Fluid Motion. Stanford, CA: Parabolic Press [Google Scholar]
  13. Van Dyke MD. 1984. Computer-extended series.. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech. 16:287–309 [Google Scholar]
  14. Van Dyke MD. 1994. Nineteenth-century roots of the boundary-layer idea.. SIAM Rev. 36:415–24 [Google Scholar]
  15. Van Dyke MD, Gordon HD. 1959. Supersonic flow past a family of blunt axisymmetric bodies.. NASA Tech. Rept. R-1 [Google Scholar]
  16. Vincenti WG, Van Dyke MD, Matteson FH. 1948. Investigation of wing characteristics at a Mach number of 1.53.. II—Swept wings of taper ratio 0.5 NACA RM A8EO5 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error