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Some Remarks on the History and Objectives of the Calculus of Variations

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Part of the Texts and Monographs in Physics book series (TMP)

Abstract

The expression “calculus of variations” was first coined by Leonhard Euler in the year 1756. He used it to describe a new method which J. L. Lagrange had developed in the previous year, and whose formal consequences he was now engaged in unravelling. Nowadays, the expression “calculus of variations”, or “variational calculus”, as it is often called, is used in a much wider sense. The subject matter of variational calculus is the mathematical formulation of the ideas of
  1. (a)

    maximising,

     
  2. (b)

    minimising and

     
  3. (c)

    “criticalising”.

     

Keywords

Banach Space Geometrical Optic Minimum Principle Variational Calculus Isoperimetric Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theoretische Physik, Fakultät für PhysikUniversität BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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