GEORGE KEITH BATCHELOR
8 March 1920–30 March 2000
Founding Editor, Journal
|HERBERT E. HUPPERT a1|
a1 Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EW, UK
George Batchelor was one of the giants of fluid mechanics in the second half of the
twentieth century. He had a passion for physical and quantitative understanding of
fluid flows and a single-minded determination that fluid mechanics should be pursued
as a subject in its own right. He once wrote that he ‘spent a lifetime happily within its
boundaries’. Six feet tall, thin and youthful in appearance, George's unchanging attire
and demeanour contrasted with his ever-evolving scientific insights and contributions.
His strongly held and carefully articulated opinions, coupled with his forthright
objectivity, shone through everything he undertook.
George's pervasive influence sprang from a number of factors. First, he conducted
imaginative, ground-breaking research, which was always based on clear physical
thinking. Second, he founded a school of fluid mechanics, inspired by his mentor G. I.
Taylor, that became part of the world renowned Department of Applied Mathematics
and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) of which he was the Head from its inception in
1959 until he retired from his Professorship in 1983. Third, he established this Journal
in 1956 and actively oversaw all its activities for more than forty years, until he
relinquished his editorship at the end of 1998. Fourth, he wrote the monumental
Dynamics, which first appeared in 1967, has been
translated into four languages and has been relaunched this year, the year of his
death. This book, which describes the fundamentals of the subject and discusses
many applications, has been closely studied and frequently cited by generations of
students and research workers. It has already sold over 45 000 copies. And fifth, but not
finally, he helped initiate a number of international organizations (often European),
such as the European Mechanics Committee (now Society) and the biennial Polish
Fluid Mechanics Meetings, and contributed extensively to the running of IUTAM, the
International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. The aim of all of these
associations is to foster fluid (and to some extent solid) mechanics and to encourage
the development of the subject.
(Received July 31 2000)