2011-04-19Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/6644
Rotoren und Leewellen
Figuren der (In-)Stabilität um 1937
In 1937, the meteorologist Joachim Kuettner used several gliders to study and map a large-scale, yet hitherto unknown, atmospheric phenomenon called mountain waves. He also examined an accompanying occurence that stood in contrast to these calm, gigantic waves: relatively small air pockets of extreme turbulence, so-called “rotors”. The present paper puts Kuettner’s investigations into the larger context of meteorological instrumentation, glider mania in Germany between the two world wars, and the buildup of Nazi air power. It also traces the connections to such wildly diverse topics as the analog computer or the transcendent dizziness of the pilot, and follows mythological references. In doing so, the paper seeks to contrast the history of meteorology with a broader epistemological approach, and to juxtapose the discovery of a somewhat schizophrenic and diabolic atmospheric phenomenon with an escalating political situation.
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