VTechWorks staff will be away for the Thanksgiving holiday beginning at noon on Wednesday, November 22, through Friday, November 24, and will not be replying to requests during this time. Thank you for your patience, and happy holidays!
This manuscript got started when one of us (G.H.M.) presented a lecture at the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota. The presentation included a photograph of Rayleigh and made frequent mention of the Ohnesorge number. When the other of us (M.R.) enquired about a picture of Ohnesorge, we found out that none were readily available on the web. Indeed, little about Ohnesorge is available from easily accessible public sources. A good part of the reason is certainly that, unlike other "numbermen" of fluid mechanics, Ohnesorge did not pursue an academic career. The purpose of this article is to fill the gap and shed some light on the life of Wolfgang von Ohnesorge. We shall discuss the highlights of his biography, his scientific contributions, their physical significance, and their impact today.