**Sylvia Skan** was an English applied mathematician who worked on fluid dynamics and aerodynamics. For most of her career, she worked for the Aerodynamics Department of the National Physical Laboratory. She wrote many papers and the two volume book *Handbook for computers*.

- On 9 August 1903 Mabel Irene Skan was baptised in Kew, Surrey.
- Mabel Skan became an assistant compiler for the Royal Botanical Gardens.
- Isabel Lilian Skan was baptised in Kew on the same day.
- Skan worked her whole career in the Aerodynamics Department of the National Physical Laboratory.
- Although Skan must have been working on translations at least as early as 1939, the first that we have found is in 1946, in fact we have found three German works which were translated by Skan in that year.
- These were Solution of Possio's integral equation for an aerofoil oscillating harmonically in a compressible medium by reduction to a system of linear equations by Martin Eichler with Skan's translation from German to English appearing in March 1946.
- In the same month, Skan's translation from German to English of The numerical solution of Possio's integral equation for an oscillating aerofoil in an two-dimensional subsonic stream by Th Schade appeared.
- We should note the speed of her translations, for The air forces for the harmonically oscillating aerofoil in a compressible medium at subsonic speeds (two-dimensional problem) by F Dietze was published in German in August 1946 with Skan's English translation being dated December 1946.
- In 1948 Skan's translation of the 1947 Russian work Wing theory in unsteady flow by Aleksandr Ivanovich Nekrasov was published.
- The French paper Flow in the neighbourhood of the apex of a highly swept wing at moderate incidence by R Legendré was published in La recherche Aeronautique in 1952 with Skan's translation dated 1953.
- Another French work, On the effect of orifice size on static pressure reading at different Reynolds numbers by A K Ray, was published in 1956 with Skan's translation appearing in the same year.
- Although Skan's contributions here were for the numerical work, her contributions to other papers must have been much more substantial for she was a joint author.
- One article which we must single out for comment was Some approximate solutions of the boundary layer equations (1930) which Skan co-authored with V M Falkner.
- This contains what is now known as the 'Falkner-Skan boundary layer'.
- The only single authored work by Skan which we have found is the two volume book Handbook for computers published by the National Physical Laboratory, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in 1954.

Born 15 August 1897, Richmond, Surrey, England. Died 10 June 1972, Twickenham, Middlesex, England.

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Origin England, Women

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive