Defining ‘aerodynamics’ : A sledgehammer to crack a nut!

Typhoon CFT model
Wind tunnel testing at one of the largest aerospace companies in the world.
Jonny Anderson (back) at full velocity in Team GB Bobsleigh

As you are probably aware, I am very excited about sharing my new picture book, ‘Aerodynamics of Biscuits,’ with the world, but the thought of a child asking me “Miss, what does aerodynamics mean?” was bringing me out in cold sweat. It seemed like a good title at the time, but explaining it to a five year old is actually quite a tough ask…

…as I was about to find out!

 So how would the world’s leading specialists in aerospace explain this scientific phenomena to a child? And how would I go about finding such specialists!? Introducing the lovely Steve Milner! I had the pleasure of meeting Steve on Twitter, thanks to a mutual love of author, Pamela Butchart… and guess what?! …he only works for one of the largest aerospace companies in the world! So naturally, I shared my dilemma.

Lovely Steve Milner (@AcadGov)

Steve quickly got to the case quickly, contacting Mark, the Head of Aerodynamic Testing, who replied promptly with this: 

Aerodynamics is the study of how air flows around an object, for example cars, missiles, aeroplanes and bobsleighs”    …don’t forget biscuits!

This helped me enormously, addressing some of my own misconceptions. This link to the NASA Website  was also very interesting, thank you Mark!

Steve with author and Blue Peter Award Winner, Pamela Butchart

Going above and beyond the call of duty, Steve also contacted his colleague in the GB Bobsleigh Team, who had emailed his technical director, asking for their take on this strange request. The phrase ‘a sledge hammer to crack a nut’ came up, but Steve certainly does aim to please 🙂 And sure enough, Steve emailed again with the following quote from the Head of Strength and Conditioning Athlete Development from Team GB Bobsleigh, who he was put in contact via Jonny Anderson, who is the Brake Man for the team.

“Aerodynamics is the design of manipulating air around the bobsleigh, with the goal to be minimising drag and friction as it goes down the track.”

And in more simple terms:

“Make the bob smooth and the right shape to make it go as fast as possible”.

The icing on the cake was a quote from Samuel, aged 9, who is the son of one of Steve’s colleagues;

“The way the wind blows around an object”.

I now feel efficiently equipped to deal with most awkward of aerospatiale questions… well almost… and I wanted to write this post to show my appreciation to Steve, Mark, Jonny, Samuel and all the lovely and people who helped me with my plight. I am enormously grateful. And in case you’re interested, Captain Sneaky McSqueaky and his crew of pirate mice have settled on this definition; mcsqeaku

 “An aerodynamic biscuit is smooth and just the right shape to fly me to the moon as fast as possible! Aharrrrr!”

Aerodynamic biscuit rocket + pirate mice = moon = CHEESE!

Thank you, me Squeakies!

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