Archive for History of Exact Sciences

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 265–286

The ascendancy of the Laplace transform and how it came about

  • Michael A. B. Deakin

DOI: 10.1007/BF00377050

Cite this article as:
Deakin, M.A.B. Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. (1992) 44: 265. doi:10.1007/BF00377050


The modern Laplace transform is relatively recent. It was first used by Bateman in 1910, explored and codified by Doetsch in the 1920s and was first the subject of a textbook as late as 1937. In the 1920s and 1930s it was seen as a topic of front-line research; the applications that call upon it today were then treated by an older technique — the Heaviside operational calculus. This, however, was rapidly displaced by the Laplace transform and by 1950 the exchange was virtually complete. No other recent development in mathematics has achieved such ready popularisation and acceptance among the users of mathematics and the designers of undergraduate curricula.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. B. Deakin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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