Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky

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Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky

Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky (Russian: Никола́й Его́рович Жуко́вский; January 17 [O.S. January 5] 1847, Orekhovo, Vladimir Governorate – March 17, 1921, Moscow) was a Russian scientist and a founding father of modern aero- and hydrodynamics. Whereas contemporary scientists scoffed at the idea of human flight, Zhukovsky was the first to undertake the study of airflow.

His name is usually romanised as Joukovsky or Joukowsky in the literature. See for example Joukowsky transform (also Kutta-Schukowski transform), Kutta–Joukowski theorem and so on.

Zhukovsky was born in the village of Orekhovo, Vladimir Governorate, Russian Empire. In 1868, he graduated from Moscow University where he studied under August Davidov. From 1872, he was a professor at the Imperial Technical School. In 1904, he established the world's first Aerodynamic Institute in Kachino near Moscow. From 1918, he was the head of TsAGI (Central AeroHydroDynamics Institute).

He was the first scientist to explain mathematically the origin of aerodynamic lift, through his circulation hypothesis, the first to establish that the lift force generated by a body moving through an ideal fluid is proportional to the velocity and the circulation around the body. He used a conformal mathematical transformation to define the ideal shape of the aerodynamic profile having as essential elements a rounded nose (leading edge), double surface (finite thickness), cambered or symmetrical, and a sharp tail (trailing edge). He built the first wind tunnel in Russia. He was also responsible for the eponymous water hammer equation used by civil engineers. This is usually known as the Joukowsky equation.

A city near Moscow and the crater Zhukovskiy on the Moon are named in his honor.

The Russian Air Force academy has been named in his honor: Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy (Russian: Военно-воздушная инженерная академия имени профессора Н.Е. Жуковского) later reorganized into Zhukovsky – Gagarin Air Force Academy (Russian: Военно-воздушная академия имени профессора Н.Е. Жуковского и Ю.А. Гагарина)