Person: Reynolds, Osborne
Osborne Reynolds was an Irish mathematician and physicist best known for introducing the Reynolds number classifying fluid flow.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Reynolds, after gaining experience in the engineering firm, studied mathematics at Cambridge, graduating in 1867 as Seventh Wrangler in the Mathematical Tripos (ranked seventh in the list of First Class students).
- As an undergraduate Reynolds had attended some of the same classes as Rayleigh who was one year ahead of him.
- They had a son, also named Osborne (born in Rusholme, Lancashire in September 1869).
- In 1868 Reynolds became the first professor of engineering in Manchester (and the second in England).
- Reynolds applied for the position and, despite his youth and inexperience, was awarded the post.
- After 1873 Reynolds concentrated mainly on fluid dynamics and it was in this area that his contributions were of world leading importance.
- The 'Reynolds number' (as it is now called) used in modelling fluid flow which is named after him appears in this work.
- Reynolds became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1877 and, 11 years later, won their Royal Medal.
- By the beginning of the 1900s Reynolds health began to fail and he retired in 1905.
- Not only is Reynolds important in terms of his research, but he is also important for the applied mathematics course he set up at Manchester.
- Engineering education was new to English universities at that time, and Reynolds had definite ideas about its proper form.
Born 23 August 1842, Belfast, Ireland. Died 21 February 1912, Watchet, Somerset, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive