Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

MacLaurin's Physical Dissertations

Authors: Tweddle, Ian

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About this book

The Scottish mathematician Colin MacLaurin (1698-1746) is best known for developing and extending Newton’s work in calculus, geometry and gravitation; his 2-volume work "Treatise of Fluxions" (1742) was the first systematic exposition of Newton’s methods. It is well known that MacLaurin was awarded prizes by the Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris, for his earlier work on the collision of bodies (1724) and the tides (1740); however, the contents of these essays are less familiar – although some of the material is discussed in the Treatise of Fluxions - and the essays themselves often hard to obtain. This book presents these important works in translation for the first time, preceded by a translation of MacLaurin’s MA dissertation on gravity (Glasgow, 1713) which provides evidence of his early study of Newtonian principles.

In his essentially descriptive discussion of gravity MacLaurin ranges over planetary orbits, vortices and theology. His discussion of collisions includes a disputatious account of what should be understood by the force of a moving body, a contentious topic at the time. The essay on the tides has the original version of his celebrated theorem on the equilibrium of a spheroidal fluid mass and employs a remarkable combination of geometry and calculus to determine forces of attraction.

The aim is to make this material more generally accessible to researchers and students in mathematics and physics, and indeed to anyone with an interest in the historical development of these subjects. A general introduction puts the works in context and gives an outline of MacLaurin's career. Each translation is then accompanied by an introduction and a series of notes and appendices in which individual results are analysed, both in modern terms and from a historical point of view. Background material is also provided.

About the authors

Ian Tweddle is a proven Springer author, having already contributed two books to the Sources and Studies series: Simon on Porisms (306-5, published 2000), and Methodus Differentialis (723-0, published 2003). Of these three books, this one will have the widest appeal.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"Anyone seriously interested in Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746) or in eighteenth-century mathematical physics will welcome this book. … the assiduous reader will be rewarded in many ways, both by working through Tweddle’s introductions, notes, and appendices, and by reading Maclaurin’s own words in Tweddle’s clear and accurate translations. I find the book refreshing … we have the result of years of profound study and deliberation, careful textual analysis, and sound understanding and explanation of the relevant mathematics and physics." (Judith V. Grabiner, MathDL, January, 2007)


Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-84628-776-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-84628-593-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-84996-624-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
MacLaurin's Physical Dissertations
Authors
Series Title
Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Springer-Verlag London
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag London
eBook ISBN
978-1-84628-776-3
DOI
10.1007/978-1-84628-776-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-84628-593-6
Softcover ISBN
978-1-84996-624-5
Series ISSN
2196-8810
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 224
Topics