Osborne Reynolds and the publication of his papers on turbulent flow

Derek Jackson, Brian Launder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Following The Royal Society's decision to allow the release of hitherto confidential documents concerning referees' reports and other material relating to the publication of historical manuscripts, the present paper examines the exchanges preceding the publication of the two papers on turbulent flow by Osborne Reynolds that have so greatly influenced the development of Engineering Fluid Mechanics over the past century. The documents cited reveal that, although the earlier experimental paper was warmly welcomed, the referees were critical of the subsequent analytical contribution. It appears that the publication of the latter paper was due mainly to the considerable standing Reynolds had by then acquired, in part from the impact of his experimental paper published 12 years earlier. The paper also provides a summary of Reynolds' career and research prior to his embarking on the research published in the two seminal papers. Copyright © 2007 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-35
    Number of pages16
    JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Horace Lamb
    • Reynolds equations
    • Reynolds number
    • Sir George Stokes
    • The Royal Society
    • Turbulence energy


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