, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 241-286

A Century of Turbulence

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Abstract

A brief, superficial survey of some very personal nominations for highpoints of the last hundred years in turbulence. Some conclusions can be dimly seen. This field does not appear to have a pyramidal structure, like the best of physics. We have very few great hypotheses. Most of our experiments are exploratory experiments. What does this mean?

We believe it means that, even after 100 years, turbulence studies are still in their infancy. We are naturalists, observing butterflies in the wild. We are still discovering how turbulence behaves, in many respects. We do have a crude, practical, working understanding of many turbulence phenomena but certainly nothing approaching a comprehensive theory, and nothing that will provide predictions of an accuracy demanded by designers.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.