Although fluid dynamics may be regarded by many physicists as a quiet and wholly classical backwater, those of us in the field know it to be complex, dynamic and exciting. The resurgence of this field was due in no small way to the work of Otto Laporte, who died on 28 March 1971 after an extraordinarily full career dating from the 1920's. Laporte's interest in fluid dynamics, stemming from his early association with Arnold Sommerfeld in Munich, grew after he took over the Shock Tube Laboratory at Michigan in 1946, where he developed many of the now well known results and methods in shock‐wave technique.

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