5R38. Introduction to Hydrodynamic Stability. - PG Drazin (Univ of Bath, UK). Cambridge UP, Cambridge, UK. 2002. 258 pp. Softcover. ISBN 0-521-00965-0. $30.00. (Also available in Hardcover ISBN: 0-521-80427-2; $85.00).

Reviewed by JC Crepeau (Dept of Mech Eng, Univ of Idaho, 1776 Science Center Dr, Idaho Falls ID 83402).

For practitioners in the field of fluid stability, Hydrodynamic Stability by PG Drazin and WH Reid, together with Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic Stability by S Chandrasekhar, are commonly used as references, are well marked, and oft cited. In this reviewer’s experience, however, he has found them difficult books to use as introductory texts for fluid stability courses. Few other books were available for teaching the topic.

Professor Drazin’s latest book, Introduction to Hydrodynamic Stability, admirably and thoroughly fills that void. The book was specifically written with the student in mind, since it is a compilation, expansion, and development of lecture notes from courses he taught at various schools. The author assumes that the student has already had preliminary courses in fluid mechanics along with the requisite mathematics. It contains many worked examples and exercises to help the student learn the principles of fluid stability. Included are mathematical models that are suitable for upper division or first-year graduate-level scientists and engineers, along with descriptions of laboratory experiments and numerical simulations.

Many of the topics presented in the Drazin and Reid book have been simplified and offered in a manner more accessible to the target audience. These topics include the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, thermal and centrifugal instabilities, and parallel shear flows. In addition to these areas, the text gives a very readable introduction to bifurcation analysis and its relation to instabilities, but only briefly touches on chaos and turbulence. A welcome addition, and a change from the way many fluids tomes are written, is the inclusion of case studies in the transition to turbulence. This chapter discusses flow stability in common geometries such as flow over a flat plate, flow over bluff bodies, and flow in diverging channels. Here, Drazin minimizes the mathematical analysis and instead focuses more on physical arguments and description of flow phenomena, the effects of critical parameters like the Reynolds number, and global flow behavior. By doing so, he provides a qualitative explanation of flow stability and transition, and acknowledges our current relative lack of understanding.

Introduction to Hydrodynamic Stability is an excellent, affordable (at least in paperback) introduction to fluid stability. The examples are plentiful and well written, and there are many applicable exercises in each chapter. This reviewer looks forward to using the book the next time he teaches fluid stability, and highly recommends it for use at the upper level and first-year graduate level.

Philip Drazin passed away on January 10, 2002. This book was published a few months after his death. According to his obituary printed by the Royal Meteorological Society, he was unassuming, and a genuine scholar with a brilliant mind. He served as the mathematics consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary. Both he and his contributions to fluid mechanics will be greatly missed by the scientific community.