Person: Von Kármán, Theodore
Theodore von Kármán was a Hungarian born mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist who worked in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- When he was nine years old Theodore entered the Minta Gymnasium in Budapest.
- In the year that Kármán completed his education at the Minta Gymnasium he won the Eötvös Prize for the best student in mathematics and science in the whole of Hungary.
- It is interesting to note that despite Kármán's great theoretical talents, he was not a skilled experimenter.
- After graduating Kármán had to undertake compulsory military service for one year and he served as an artillery cadet in the Austro-Hungarian army.
- But Kármán also held a second position during these years, for he acted as a consultant for a German locomotive manufacturer.
- For this research Kármán was awarded his doctorate in 1908 and in the same year he accepted a position as privatdocent at Göttingen.
- In 1911, using results from the wind tunnel, he made an analysis of the alternating double row of vortices behind a flat body in a fluid flow which is now known as Kármán's Vortex Street.
- In 1912 Kármán decided that his prospects of promotion were not good at Göttingen so he accepted the chair of applied mechanics at the Schemnitz mining college in Slovakia (today the town is called Banska Stiavnica).
- In February 1913 Kármán accepted a post as director of the Aeronautical Institute at Aachen in Germany and also the chair of aeronautics and mechanics at the technical university in Aachen.
- When the war ended in 1918 Kármán was working in Hungary and he remained there trying to bring in improvements to the teaching of sciences there.
- Kármán visited the USA in 1926, at the invitation of the head of the California Institute of Technology, to advise on the design of a wind tunnel.
- In November 1944 the funding was used to set up the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech with Kármán as director.
- Kármán received many honours for his outstanding contributions.
Born 11 May 1881, Budapest, Hungary. Died 7 May 1963, Aachen, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive