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The Enigma of the AerofoilRival Theories in Aerodynamics, 1909-1930$
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David Bloor

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226060941

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226060934.001.0001

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Two Traditions: Mathematical Physics and Technical Mechanics

Two Traditions: Mathematical Physics and Technical Mechanics

(p.160) 5 Two Traditions: Mathematical Physics and Technical Mechanics
The Enigma of the Aerofoil

David Bloor

University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents the reasons advanced against the circulation theory of lift proposed by non-engineers who worked in the British, and particularly the Cambridge, tradition of mathematical physics. If the objections were the expressions of a disciplinary standpoint, located at a specific time and place, then perhaps the resistance to the circulatory theory would be explicable as a clash of cultures, institutions, and practices. Such an explanation would not imply any devaluation of the reasons that were advanced against the circulatory theory. It would not be premised on the assumption that these reasons were not the real reasons for the resistance. On the contrary, the intention would be to take the objections against the theory in full seriousness and to probe further into them. The aim of this chapter is to outline a theory that could explain the negative character of the British response to Lanchester's theory.

Keywords:   circulation theory, mathematical physics, disciplinary standpoint, Lanchester, mathematical physics, technical mechanics, Cambridge

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