1932

Abstract

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.

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2002-01-01
2024-06-14
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