Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky

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Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky

Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky[1] (Russian: Никола́й Его́рович Жуко́вский, IPA: [ʐʊˈkofskʲɪj]; January 17 [O.S. January 5] 1847 – March 17, 1921) was a Russian scientist, mathematician and engineer, 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. He is often called the Father of Russian Aviation.


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. He was influenced by both Ernst Mach and his son Ludwig Mach.[2] 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 and the Joukowsky transform.

He died in Moscow in 1921.


The Zhukovsky House is a museum dedicated to his memory

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

The Russian Air Force's engineering academy was named for him, later reorganized into the Zhukovsky – Gagarin Air Force Academy. In May 2016, Moscow's fourth largest airport was named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ His surname is usually romanised as Joukovsky or Joukowsky in the literature. See for example Joukowsky transform, Kutta–Joukowski theorem and so on.
  2. ^ Blackmore, John T. (1972). Ernst Mach; His Work, Life, and Influence. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520018495. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 

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