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Magdalene College Cambridge

Professor Holger Babinsky

Professor Holger Babinsky is Head of Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department, Professor of Aerodynamics and a Fellow of Magdalene College.

Professor Babinsky originates from Bavaria and studied Aerospace Engineering at Stuttgart University in Germany. He obtained a PhD in hypersonic aerodynamics from Cranfield University (UK) in 1994. After 18 months as Research Associate at the Shock Wave Research Centre of Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan he returned to the UK to take up a position at the University of Cambridge. In 2010 he became the Professor of Aerodynamics at the Department of Engineering. After serving for five years as Deputy Head of Department in charge of postgraduate education he is now Head of Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Aeronautical Journal, the world’s oldest scientific journal dedicated to Aeronautics.

His main areas of research are in the field of experimental aerodynamics and associated measurement techniques. Apart from shock wave/boundary layer interactions, which he has studied for 30 years, his current research includes the aerodynamics of micro-air vehicles, road vehicles, engine inlets and flow control.

Professor Babinsky has supervised more than 40 PhD students, authored or co-authored more than 80 articles in international scientific journals and contributed over 100 papers to archival conference proceedings. He has received a number of awards for research and teaching, including Cambridge University’s Pilkington Prize.

He has co-authored (with Professor John Harvey, ex Imperial College) the first textbook on shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions, which has been translated into Chinese.


Dipl.-Ing., PhD.

Research Interests

  • Aerodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Vehicle aerodynamics

Career/Research Highlights

1990 Reissner Preis (Stuttgart University)

2000 Pilkington Prize for Teaching (University of Cambridge)

2000 John Britten Prize (Royal Aeronautical Socierty)

2011 Applied Aerodynamics Best Paper Award (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics)

2011 Scientific Achievement Award (NATO, RTO)

2018 Appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Aeronautical Journal

2020 Elected Fellow of AIAA

2021 Elected FREng

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Key Publications

Shock Wave – Boundary Layer Interactions, Holger Babinsky & John Harvey (eds.), Cambridge Aerospace Series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), ISBN 978-0521848527

“How Do Wings Work?”, Babinsky, H., Physics Education, Vol. 38, pp. 497-503, Nov. 2003

Microramp Control of Supersonic Oblique Shock-Wave/Boundary-Layer Interactions, Babinsky, H., Li, Y., Pitt Ford, C.W. AIAA Journal, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 668-675, March 2009

‘On the development and early observations from a towing tank-based transverse wing–gust encounter test rig’, Corkery, S.J.,  Babinsky, H.,  Harvey, J.K., Experiments in Fluids, Vol. 59, Issue 9, 1 September 2018, 10.1007/s00348-018-2586-0

‘Corner effects for oblique shock wave/turbulent boundary layer interactions in rectangular channels’,  Xiang, X., Babinsky, H., Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol.862, pp.1060-1083, March 2019, doi:10.1017/jfm.2018.983