28th Lanchester Memorial Lecture — Experimental real-gas hypersonics
For all who are specialists of one kind or another, it is a very healthy exercise to read books written by scientists or engineers of the calibre and breadth of F. W. Lanchester. He was at the same time truly a pioneer of flight, an expert in fluid mechanics, in flight mechanics, in the practical, and (well ahead of his time) in the military applications of flight, in the novel use of materials, and an inventor of devices and mechanisms. However, it was with particular surprise that I found, on studying the literature under the name F. W. Lanchester, a book published in 1935 entitled Relativity and two earlier papers on the subject published in 1921. Lanchester had met Minkowski in 1908 at the house of his friend Carl Runge, the applied mathematician, at Göttingen, and following a discussion with Minkowski had taken such an interest in the field that he was able to make these early English contributions. Perhaps the most important property that makes such pioneers is the courage to think truly new thoughts. His fascination with the new philosophy in physics may be easily understood in terms of this bold style of thought.
© 1988 Royal Aeronautical Society.