ONR Distinguished Lecture Series:
"The Wright Brothers: The First True Aeronautical Engineers"
Dr. John D. Anderson, Jr.
Curator for Aerodynamics, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution and Professor Emeritus, Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland
Much has been written about the Wright brothers and how they accomplished the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air, piloted, powered, controlled flying machine on December 17, 1903. The focus of this presentation, however, is how they can be considered the first true aeronautical engineers in history. The argument is made that they were the first to fully understand that success required aerodynamics, propulsion, flight dynamics, and structures to all work in harmony with each other, and the failure of one would result in the failure of the entire system. Also, specific attention will be given to their aerodynamics, where their earlier failures with gliders in 1900 and 1901 were a result of misinterpretations of existing data, and how they found the “right” aerodynamics.
This event is now closed.
When: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11 a.m. to Noon
Office of Naval Research
Bobby Junker Executive Conference Center
14th Floor, One Liberty Center
875 North Randolph Street
Arlington, VA 22203
For any questions regarding this event, please email Irina Pala.
Download the flyer
About John D. Anderson, Jr.
Dr. John D. Anderson, Jr. graduated from the University of Florida with High Honors and a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering Degree in 1959 and from The Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 1966. He served as a Lieutenant and Task Scientist at Wright Field in Dayton (1959-1962), as Chief of the Hypersonics Group at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, Maryland (1966-1973), and became Chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland in 1973. After 1980 he served as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Maryland, being designated a Distinguished Scholar/Teacher in 1982. In addition, in 1993 he was made a full faculty member of the Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science, and in 1996 an affiliate member of the History Department at the University of Maryland. In 1996 he became the Glenn L. Martin Distinguished Professor in Aerospace Engineering. He retired from the University in 1999, and was appointed Professor Emeritus. He is currently the Curator for Aerodynamics at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Anderson has published eleven books, some in multiple editions, in the areas of aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, airplane performance, hypersonic aerodynamics, high-temperature gas dynamics, the history of aerodynamics, and the history of aeronautical engineering. These include A History of Aerodynamics (Cambridge University Press) and The Airplane: A History of Its Technology (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). McGraw-Hill has named his series of aerospace engineering textbooks the “Anderson Series” in recognition of their impact on engineering education. He is the author of over 120 papers in radiative gas dynamics, re-entry aerothermodynamics, gas dynamic and chemical lasers, computational fluid dynamics, applied aerodynamics, hypersonic flow, and the history of aeronautics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.