Equations of Motion -
William F. Milliken's handling research is fundamental to modern automobile design, and his definitive books on vehicle dynamics provide engineers and racers with practical understanding of chassis design for maximum performance. Equations of Motion is the story of Milliken's lifetime of experimentation and innovation in vehicle stability and control.
Nine Lives or Close Shaves
Click below to read this short piece, Bill Milliken picked out 21 quotations from his book, as well as other sources, detailing situations where a seemingly hopeless event was finally overcome.
In Equations of Motion: Adventure, Risk and Innovation, Milliken vividly recounts his experiences pushing airplanes and race cars beyond their limits. His exciting life provides singular, real-world insight into the challenge and joy of engineering and the history of vehicle dynamics as he created it in the air and on the track.
Bill Milliken's acclaimed "engineering autobiography" is now available as a lower-priced paperback containing new material written exclusively for this edition.
Legendary American driver Dan Gurney wrote a very kind foreword to Equations of Motion. Download the PDF here (48 kb).
Milliken's automotive innovations have earned him the highest engineering honors, and his technical books are required reading for automotive engineers and students. But what really makes Milliken's life special is his lifelong adventure of making rollicking play of challenging work. After MIT, Milliken helped perfect some of World War II's most memorable combat aircraft. At the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories research hotbed, he spearheaded a new methodology that fundamentally changed how aircraft are designed.
Milliken's hobbies have been his inspiration: The solo, open-cockpit flights from Seattle to Maine, and the 100-plus postwar sports car races. The math: Two upside-down airplanes plus two upside-down race cars times always giving your all equals unparalleled understanding of how vehicles move, and how to make them do it better.
The sign for Milliken's Corner along the old Watkins Glen (NY) racing circuit alerts drivers to a hairy bend. Most people slow down, but Bill steps on it. The only thing he is certain will happen is that he'll learn something. As he tells it in Equations of Motion: 80 Years of Adventure, Risk and Innovation, it has all been a lot of hard work, and nothing but fun.
Equations of Motion is an engaging portrayal of doing one's best, following one's dreams and taking the adventurous route to solving real challenges.
Watch Bill Milliken's interview for the EAA's Timeless Voices of Aviation.
Bill Milliken earned eternal fame at Watkins Glen for his daring driving in Bugattis (Type 35,1948; Type 54, 1950), and a Miller four wheel drive (1949). Photo ca 1948.
Bill Milliken (far right) and other Boeing Flight Test staff members brief for a B-17 high-altitude test, ca 1942.
Bill Milliken, age 87, at the wheel of FWD Miller; 1997, Goodwood Hillclimb, England
ISBN: 0-8376-1570-4 (ISBN-10)
ISBN: 978-0-8376-1570-7 (ISBN-13)