Fluid dynamics is a research area lying at the crossroads of physics and applied mathematics with an ever-expanding range of applications in natural sciences and engineering. However, despite decades of concerted research efforts, this area abounds with many fundamental questions that still remain unanswered. At the heart of these problems often lie mathematical models, usually in the form of partial differential equations, and many of the open questions concern the validity of these models and what can be learned from them about the physical problems. In recent years, significant progress has been made on a number of open problems in this area, often using approaches that transcend traditional discipline boundaries by combining modern methods of modelling, computation and mathematical analysis. The two-part theme issue aims to represent the breadth of these approaches, focusing on problems that are mathematical in nature but help to understand aspects of real physical importance such as fluid dynamical stability, transport, mixing, dissipation and vortex dynamics.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Mathematical problems in physical fluid dynamics (part 2)’.