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Paper glider

Ludwig Prandtl 1875-1953 – The man behind the science of aerodynamics

Article by Dr Fred Starr PhD, FIMMM, FIE, MIMechE, CEng

Ludwig Prandtl with his fluid test channel

Ludwig Prandtl is shown next to the water channel which he used in his early boundary layer investigations.

Ever wondered why you have to brush the dust off a piece of furniture? Not being able to blow it away? And were you puzzled that golf balls are knobbly rather than smooth? Surely a smoother ball should be more streamlined, and fly further? Or when boarding a jumbo jet, asked yourself why do the wings have to be so long, almost to the point of being floppy? Wouldn’t square shaped wings, attached along the length of the fuselage, be more sturdy?

The man who supplied us with the answer to these questions, the last one, being at one time a state secret, was Ludwig Prandtl, the greatest of all German Aeronautical Scientists. And a great bunch they were. Prandtl was there at the start of the business, when, although Lilienthal had died in his glider experiments, and the Wright Brothers had flown, there was no clear idea what kept an aircraft in the air. No one, in fact, had any idea, how best to design the most important attribute of an aircraft, the wings.

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Three unicorns running

Unicorn Bets Set in Race to Carbon Zero

Are capitalists hoping to harness unicorns to lead the charge to a zero carbon economy? Some experts think so and are calling for investment in unicorn incubation programmes with the promise of great returns. Recently the unicorn has lent its name to the elite group of billion dollar startup tech firms, and now looks set to sire a whole new breed of firms focused on facilitating low carbon living. As icecaps melt, sea levels rise, and global overheating threatens human extinction, can a magical horse with a pointed hat save the human race? Some hard-headed technologists are advocating this, so is it time we understood this beautiful beast and its future a bit better?

Three unicorns runningThe unicorn has captured the human imagination since the earliest days of India, appears in the Christian Bible, in medieval bestiary books illustrating beasts of every alleged kind, and has often been harnessed as a symbol. Typically understood to be a forest-dwelling white horse with a single, spiralling and pointed horn sticking out of its forehead, it might initially have been the ancients’ remote misinterpretation of actual one-horned animals such as the ibex or rhinoceros, or of profile representations of cattle, but it developed a mythical presence in the Middle Ages in Europe which lives on to this day.

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Bauhaus school building in Dessau

From Bauhaus to Baumhaus to Our House via Oz

2019 sees centenary celebrations for Germany’s groundbreaking Bauhaus design school, whose 14 year lifespan influenced art, architecture and design worldwide throughout the twentieth century and beyond. On 8 September The Bauhaus Museum opens in Dessau, and HE Translations have added the word Bauhaus to our growing list of German words used in English, many of them highly influential terms. Read more

Image of Gears

Germany’s Mittelstand: standstill or foundation of the Industrie 4.0 future?

The German economy owes much of its success to the country’s Mittelstand, a uniquely German term used to refer to Germany’s highly developed and export-oriented mid-sized business sector. Mittelstand is roughly translated into English as SME or Small and Medium Enterprise sector, but the Mittelstand is characterised by more than just the simple number of employees or the size of the annual turnover. Due to its ethos and importance, and focus on manufacturing, the Mittelstand has been the subject of considerable study and discussion, as well as concerns for its future when facing the challenges of technological change and international competition. Clearly it can’t afford to stand still if the German Wirtschaftswunder is to continue, so what is the Mittelstand and where is it going? Can small business and manufacturing survive in a world of globalised giants and the feverish flow of investor funds into speculative startups? Read more

raised knife

Are EU elections a betrayal? Dance of the Dolchstossers

As the UK faces EU elections some promised to end, Germany offers us the lesson of the Dolchstosslegende, a myth much used to paint defeat as the work of backstabbing traitors, rather than failed leaders. After First World War defeat in 1918, Germany’s militarists promoted the Dolchstosslegende, or Stab-In-The-Back Myth, contrafactually claiming that they could and would have won the war if weak-kneed pacifist politicians had not undermined them and stabbed them in the back, robbing the country of a great victory.

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Battery Storage Guide book cover

Battery Storage Guide now on sale

A topical new energy study is out this month and charging ahead with the publication of The Definitive Guide to Commercial and Industrial Battery Storage Systems. This thorough new report from German energy consultancy denersol, in cooperation with publishers DGS Franken, has been translated by the experts at HE Translations.

HE Translations are specialists in the Energiewende, the ongoing energy transition to sustainable energy, and are offering a 20% discount off the purchase price to early bird buyers in the month of May only. Read more

Batteriespeicher book jacket

Translating the Guide to Commercial and Industrial Battery Storage

Batteriespeicher book jacketHE Translations are pleased to be translating from German a valuable new resource, a definitive guide to the commercial and industrial battery storage technology and products available today. This comprehensive guide has been researched and written by expert Dietmar Geckeler of German energy consultancy Denersol, who specialise in decentralised energy solutions.

The transition to sustainable energy sources, known in German as the Energiewende, faces a significant challenge when energy from renewables must be stored outside the active generation period to provide a continuous power supply. So what exactly are energy storage systems, and where do we find them, and how do we use them?
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What is Energiewende

wind turbine and sun

What is Energiewende and where does it come from?

English is getting a new word as energiewende creeps in and cleans up. No, not energy for a Wendy house, but the turning point and transition to renewable energy without the cost of nuclear. The most concise word for this today comes from German, where the national energy policy of Energiewende is leading the way towards… read more

 

Imports are making English rich, and HE Translations are assembling an online treasure-trove explaining words that English has imported from German.  Technology, sustainability, psychology and even food are fueling our appetite for new terms, and Germany is serving them up freely. Lost for words? Try some
new ones and go with the zeitgeist!

The Madhouse Effect book jacket

The Madhouse Effect out now – the book Trump doesn’t want you to read

Madhouse Effect book jacketFollowing US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK in the midst of a heatwave and the ball-kicking fest of the World Cup, the laughter and tears are flowing with the timely release of the revised 2018 edition of The Madhouse Effect. This work, a lively synthesis of science and cartoons, rips the mask off the climate change deniers, having been updated with new content for the era of the Trump regime.

The Madhouse Effect: How climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy features an outstandingly authoritative text by award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and contains cartoons by prize-winning USA political cartoonist Tom Toles. It is ideally suited for both the layman and general reader struggling to see through the haze of misinformation on these vital issues. In an article titled Burning Down The House, the Washington Monthly named this “The book Donald Trump does not want you to read.”
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German vintage camera

German film cameras

Report from HE Translations marketing representative Mike GaylerGerman vintage camera

First let me say that I am no expert in this field – I have a modest collection of analogue cameras, most of which are European, manufactured during the period 1955 – 1975. They are generally the sort of camera that a family man (and it usually was the man) would have taken on holiday and to weddings, or a camera that would have been proudly sported by the enthusiastic, albeit cash-poor, amateur photographer.

There’s a list of technical resources at the end of this piece; if I’ve used something from your site and not listed it, then please let me know and I’ll edit and credit you. Otherwise all errors are mine. Read more