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Meccanica

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 19–33 | Cite as

On Lagrange’s History of Mechanics

  • Danilo Capecchi
  • Antonino Drago
Article

Abstract

The birth of Lagrange’s Mechanics constitutes a milestone in the history of Mechanics. The genius of Lagrange should have been aware of this turning point inasmuch as he devoted a substantial part of his celebrated book to an account of the previous development of Mechanics. This historical part, located before the technical exposition in the Mécanique analytique, is the subject of the present paper. By directly consulting the original writings of the scientists that contributed to the development of Mechanics, Lagrange produced a first hand historical account. It largely influenced the historians of the XIX century and also those of the beginning of XX century. We interpret Lagrange’s motivations for writing his history and we suggest an interpretation of the foundations of his historical account.

Keywords

History of Mechanics Italian mechanicians Lagrange Principle of virtual work Principle of d’Alembert 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria strutturale e geotecnicaUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”RomaItaly

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