© 2014

A History of the Work Concept

From Physics to Economics

  • Unique topic on which not much has been published in monograph form

  • Treats Lagrangian and Laplacian mechanics in historical context

  • Of special interest to those studying Lazare Carnot


Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 24)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
    Pages 1-37
  3. The Conceptual Genesis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
      Pages 41-64
    3. Agamenon. R. E. Oliveira
      Pages 65-91
    4. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
      Pages 93-117
  4. The Instrumental Genesis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
      Pages 121-151
    3. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
      Pages 219-239
  5. Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
    Pages E1-E2

About this book


This  book traces the history of the concept of work from its earliest stages and shows that its further formalization leads to equilibrium principle and to the principle of virtual works, and so pointing the way ahead for future research and applications.
The idea that something remains constant in a machine operation is very old and has been expressed by many mathematicians and philosophers such as, for instance, Aristotle. Thus,  a concept of energy developed. Another important  idea in machine operation is Archimedes' lever principle.
In modern times the concept of work is analyzed in the context of applied mechanics mainly in Lazare Carnot mechanics and the mechanics of the new generation of polytechnical engineers like Navier, Coriolis and Poncelet. In this context the word "work" is finally adopted. These engineers are also responsible for the incorporation of the concept of work into the discipline of economics when they endeavoured to combine the study  of the work of machines and men together.


Carnot History of Engineering History of Mechanics History of applied mechanics Work and energy Work economics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Mechanics and StructuresFederal University of Rio de Janeiro Polytechnica School of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A History of the Work Concept
  • Book Subtitle From Physics to Economics
  • Authors Agamenon R. E. Oliveira
  • Series Title History of Mechanism and Machine Science
  • Series Abbreviated Title History Mechanism, Machine
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-94-007-7704-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-017-7918-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-007-7705-7
  • Series ISSN 1875-3442
  • Series E-ISSN 1875-3426
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIII, 239
  • Number of Illustrations 40 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
    History of Mathematical Sciences
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
Consumer Packaged Goods
Energy, Utilities & Environment
Oil, Gas & Geosciences