Department of Engineering / Profiles / Prof. Holger Babinsky

Department of Engineering

Prof. Holger Babinsky


Holger Babinsky

Professor of Aerodynamics

Academic Division: Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery (Head of Division)

Research group: Fluid Mechanics

Telephone: +44 1223 3 39721



Research interests

Professor Babinsky's research is concerned with fundamental and applied aerodynamics with application to aeronautics, road vehicles and energy production. Particular focus areas are shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions in transonic and supersonic flows, flapping wing aerodynamics and road vehicle aerodynamics. His research is predominantly experimental but includes theoretical and numerical studies, often in collaboration with other groups across the globe.

A key element of his research, spanning more than 25 years, is the study of shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions (SBLIs) and their control with application to wings and engine inlets. This includes shock control (e.g. shock control bumps) and boundary-layer control (e.g. micro-vortex generators for separation mitigation). He has co-edited, together with Prof. J. Harvey, the only textbook dedicated to SBLIs. A further focus of recent research has been the aerodynamics of low-Reynolds number flapping wings where fundamental experiments have helped identify the key mechanisms responsible for unsteady force production. More recently, work has started to improve the efficiency of long-haul road haulage vehicles. This is building on experience gathered over many years in the field of Formula 1 aerodynamics.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Flow control for transonic aircraft wings; aerodynamic improvements of long-haul road freight vehicles; investigation of transonic aircraft engine inlets at high angles of attack.

Other positions

  • Editor-in-Chief of the Aeronautical Journal (the worlds oldest scientific journal dedicated to Aeronautics)
  • Associate Editor of Experiments in Fluids
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society


Holger Babinsky graduated with a distinction in Aerospace Engineering from 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. He is now Professor of Aerodynamics, Head of Energy, Fluids and Turbomachinery as well as a Fellow at Magdalene College.

Department role and responsibilities

Head of Division A (Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery)