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**Unformatted text preview: **ANALYTICAL MECHANICS BOSTON STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE Editor
ROBERT S. COHEN, Boston University Editorial Advisory Board
THOMAS F. GLICK, Boston University
ADOLF GRUNBAUM, University of Pittsburgh
SYLVAN S. SCHWEBER, Brandeis University
JOHN J. STACHEL, Boston University
MARX W. W ARTOFSKY, Baruch College of the City University ofNew York VOLUME 191 J. L. LAGRANGE ANALYTICAL MECHANICS
Translated from the Mecanique analytique,
novelle edition of 1811 Translated and edited by
AUGUSTE BOISSONNADE
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
Livermore, CA, U.S.A. and
VICTOR N. VAGLIENTE
Department o/Civil Engineering, San Jose State University,
San Jose, CA, U.S.A. Springer-Science+Business Media, B.Y. A C.I.P. Catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress ISBN 978-90-481-4779-3
ISBN 978-94-015-8903-1 (eBook)
DOI 10.1007/978-94-015-8903-1 Printed on acid-free paper All Rights Reserved
© 1997 Springer Seience-Business Media Dordreeht
Originally published by Kluwer Aeademic Pub1ishers in 1997.
Softcover reprint ofthe hardcover 1st edition 1997
No part of the material protected by Ibis copyright notice may be reproduced or
utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner. TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface by Craig G. Fraser. vii Translator's Introduction. xi Excerpt . . . . . . . . xliii Acknowledgement . . xlv VOLUME I
Detailed Table of Contents .. 3 PREFACE to the First Edition 7 PREFACE to the Second Edition. 8 PART I. STATICS
SECTION I - THE VARIOUS PRINCIPLES OF STATICS . . . . . . . . . . . .. II SECTION II - A GENERAL FORMULA OF STATICS AND ITS APPLICATION
TO THE EQUILIBRIUM OF AN ARBITRARY SYSTEM OF FORCES . . . . . . 26
SECTION III - THE GENERAL PROPERTIES OF EQUILIBRIUM OF A SYSTEM OF BODIES DEDUCED FROM THE PRECEDING FORMULA . . . . . . 37
SECTION IV. A MORE GENERAL AND SIMPLER WAY TO USE THE FORMULA OF EQUILIBRIUM PRESENTED IN SECTION II . . . . . . . . . 60 SECTION V - THE SOLUTION OF VARIOUS PROBLEMS OF STATICS 82 SECTION VI. THE PRINCIPLES OF HYDROSTATICS. . . . . . . . . 136 SECTION VII. THE EQUILIBRIUM OF INCOMPRESSIBLE FLUIDS . 140 SECTION VIII. The Equilibrium of Compressible and Elastic Fluids . 164 PART II. DYNAMICS SECTION I. THE VARIOUS PRINCIPLES OF DYNAMICS . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
SECTION II. A GENERAL FORMULA OF DYNAMICS FOR THE MOTION OF
A SYSTEM OF BODIES MOVED BY ARBITRARY FORCES . . . . . . . . . . 184
SECTION III. GENERAL PROPERTIES OF MOTION DEDUCED FROM THE
PRECEDING FORMULA . . . . . . ..
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 v VI TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION IV. DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS FOR THE SOLUTION OF ALL
PROBLEMS OF DYNAMICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
SECTION V. A GENERAL METHOD OF APPROXIMATION FOR THE PROBLEMS OF DYNAMICS BASED ON THE VARIATION OF ARBITRARY CONSTANTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
SECTION VI. THE VERY SMALL OSCILLATIONS OF AN ARBITRARY SYSTEM OF BODIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253 VOLUME II: DYNAMICS
Detailed Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
SECTION VII. THE MOTION OF A SYSTEM OF FREE BODIES TREATED AS
MASS POINTS AND ACTED UPON BY FORCES OF ATTRACTION . . . . . . 311
SECTION VIII. THE MOTION OF CONSTRAINED BODIES WHICH INTERACT IN AN ARBITRARY FASHION. .
. 442
SECTION IX. ROTATIONAL MOTION . . . . . . . . . . . 467 SECTION X. THE PRINCIPLES OF HYDRODYNAMICS . 517 SECTION XI. THE MOTION OF INCOMPRESSIBLE FLUIDS . . 521 SECTION XII. THE MOTION OF COMPRESSIBLE AND ELASTIC FLUIDS . 560 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 575 PREFACE
to the English translation of Lagrange's Mecanique Analytique
Lagrange's Mecanique Analytique appeared early in 1788 almost exactly one century after the publication of Newton's Principia Mathematica. It marked the
culmination of a line of research devoted to recasting Newton's synthetic, geometric methods in the analytic style of the Leibnizian calculus. Its sources extended
well beyond the physics of central forces set forth in the Principia. Continental authors such as Jakob Bernoulli, Daniel Bernoulli, Leonhard Euler, Alexis Clairaut
and Jean d'Alembert had developed new concepts and methods to investigate
problems in constrained interaction, fluid flow, elasticity, strength of materials and
the operation of machines. The Mecanique Analytique was a remarkable work of
compilation that became a fundamental reference for subsequent research in exact
science.
During the eighteenth century there was a considerable emphasis on extending
the domain of analysis and algorithmic calculation, on reducing the dependence
of advanced mathematics on geometrical intuition and diagrammatic aids. The
analytical style that characterizes the Mecanique Analytique was evident in Lagrange's original derivation in 1755 of the 8-algorithm in the calculus of variations.
It was expressed in his consistent attempts during the 1770s to prove theorems of
mathematics and mechanics that had previously been obtained synthetically. The
scope and distinctiveness of his 1788 treatise are evident if one compares it with
an earlier work of similar outlook, Euler's Mechanica sive Motus Scientia Analytice Exposita of 1736. 1 Euler was largely concerned with deriving the differential
equations in polar coordinates for an isolated particle moving freely and in a resisting medium. Both the goal of his investigation and the methods employed
were defined by the established programme of research in Continental analytical
dynamics. The key to Lagrange's approach by contrast was contained in a new and
rapidly developing branch of mathematics, the calculus of variations. In applying
this subject to mechanics he developed during the period 1755-1780 the concept of
a generalized coordinate, the use of single scalar variables (action, work function),
and standard equational forms (Lagrangian equations) to describe the static equilibrium and dynamical motion of an arbitrary physical system. The fundamental
axiom of his treatise, a generalization of the principle of virtual work, provided
a unified point of view for investigating the many and diverse problems that had
been considered by his predecessors.
In what was somewhat unusual for a scientific treatise, then or now, Lagrange
preceded each part with an historical overview of the development of the subject.
His study was motivated not simply by considerations of priority but also by
a genuine interest in the genesis of scientific ideas. In a book on the calculus
published several years later he commented on his interest in past mathematics.
VB PREFACE Vlll He suggested that although discussions of forgotten methods may seem of little
value, they allow one "to follow step by step the progress of analysis, and to see how
simple and general methods are born from complicated and indirect procedures.,,2
Lagrange's central technical achievement in the Mecanique Analytique was to
derive the invariant-form of the differential equations of motion aT d aT
----= av
oqi' for a system with n degrees of freedom and generalized coordinates qi (i =
1, ... , n). The quantities T and V are scalar functions denoting what in later
physics would be called the kinetic and potential energies of the system. The
advantages of these equations are well known: their applicability to a wide range
of physical systems; the freedom to choose whatever coordinates are suitable to
describe the system; the elimination of forces of constraint; and their simplicity
and elegance.
The flexibility to choose coordinates is illustrated in the simplest case by a calculation of the inertial reactions for a single mass m moving freely in the plane
under the action of a force. It is convenient here to use polar quantities rand e to
analyze the motion. We have x = r cos e and y = r sin e, where x and yare the
Cartesian coordinates of m. The function T becomes Hence aT _ ~(aT)
ar dt ar
aT
ae - d
dt = aT
ae - -(-. ) = m(riP _ f)
d
dt --(mr ' 2· e). By equating these expressions to av/ ar and av/ ae we obtain the equations of
motion in polar coordinates. If the force is central, V = V (r), this procedure leads
to the standard form m(riP - f) = V'(r), mr 2 iJ = constant.
Lagrange derived his general equations from a fundamental relation that originated
with the principle of virtual work in statics. The latter was a well-established rule PREFACE ix to describe the operation of such simple machines as the lever, the pulley and
the inclined plane. The essential idea in dynamics - due to d'Alembert was to suppose that the actual forces and the inertial reactions form a system
in equilibrium or balance; the application of the static principle leads within a
variational framework to the desired general axiom. Historian Norton Wise has
called attention to the pervasiveness of the image of the balance in Enlightenment
scientific thought. 3 Condillac's conception of algebraic analysis emphasized the
balancing of terms on each side of an equation. The high-precision balance was
a central laboratory instrument in the chemical revolution of Priestley, Black and
Lavoisier. A great achievement of eighteenth-century astronomy, Lagrange and
Laplace's theory of planetary perturbations, consisted in establishing the stability of
the various three-body systems within the solar system. The Mecanique Analytique
may be viewed as the product of a larger scientific mentality characterized by a neoclassical sense of order and, for all its intellectual vigour, a restricted consciousness
of temporality.
A comparison of Lagrange's general equations with the various laws and special
relations that had appeared in earlier treatises indicates the degree of formal sophistication mechanics had reached by the end of the century. The Mecanique
Analytique contained as well many other significant innovations. Notable here
were the use of multipliers in statics and dynamics to calculate the forces of constraint; the method of variation of arbitrary constants to analyze perturbations
arising in celestial dynamics (added in the second edition of 1811); an analysis of
the motion of a rigid body; detailed techniques to study the small vibrations of a
connected system; and the Lagrangian description of the flow of fluids.
In addition to presenting powerful new methods of mechanical investigation Lagrange also provided a discussion of the different principles of the subject. The
Mecanique Analytique would be a major source of inspiration for such nineteenthcentury researchers as William Rowan Hamilton and Carl Gustav Jacobi.4 The
scminal character of Lagrange's theory is evident in the way in which they were
able to use it to derive new ideas for organizing and extending the subject. Combining results from analytical dynamics, the calculus of variations and the study
of ordinary and partial differential equations Hamilton and Jacobi constructed on
Lagrange's variational framework a mathematical-physical theory of great depth
and generality. Within the calculus of variations itself the Hamilton-Jacobi theory
would become a source for Weierstrassian field theory at the end of the century;
within physics it took on new importance with the advent of quantum mechanics
in the 1920s.
Beyond its historical and scientific interest the Mecanique Analytique is a work
of considerable significance in the philosophy of science. It embodies a type
of empirical investigation which emphasizes the abstract power of mathematics
to link and to coordinate observational variables. The concepts of an idealized x PREFACE constraint, a generalized coordinate and a scalar functional allow one to describe
the system without detailed hypotheses concerning its internal physical structure
and working. 5 In the third part of his Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism James
Clerk Maxwell (1892) stressed this aspect of Lagrange's theory as he used it to
create a "dynamical" theory of electromagnetism. 6 Beginning with Auguste Comte
and continuing with such later figures as Ernst Mach and Pierre Duhem, Lagrange's
analytical mechanics has attracted the attention of leading positivist philosophers
of physics. 7 In 1883 Mach praised Lagrange for having brought the subject to its
"highest degree of perfection" through his introduction of "very simple, highly
symmetrical and perspicuous schema.,,8
Lagrange's book remains valuable today as an exposition of subjects of ongoing
utility to engineering physics and applied mathematics. Its value to the historian
of mechanics, its intrinsic interest to the practising scientist and its contribution to
the philosophy of physics ensure its place as an enduring classic of exact science.
CRAIG G. FRASER Victoria College, University of Toronto,
Ontario, Canada I Euler's work was published as volumes I and 2 of series 2 of his Opera Omnia (Leipzig and Berlin: Teubner,
1912) 2 These remarks appear in the section on calculus of variations in Lagrange's Le(ons du calcul des fonctions
(1806), p. 315 of volume 10 of his Oeuvres (1884). 3 M. Norton Wise and Crosbie Smith, "Work and Waste: Political Economy and Natural Philosophy in Nineteenth
Century Britain", History of Science 27 (1989), pp. 263-301. Wise contrasts earlier scientific thought with
the emerging consciousness of temporality (change, evolution, dissipation) that took place in British natural
philosophy in the 1840s. 4 Hamilton, William Rowan, "On a general method employed in Dynamics, by which the study of the motions
of all free Systems of attracting or repelling points is reduced to the search and differentiation of one central
solution or characteristic function", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 124, (1834)
247-308; and "Second essay on a general method in Dynamics", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
Society of London 125 (1835), 95-144. Carl Gustav Jacobi, "Uber die Reduction der Integration der partiellen
Differentialgleichungen erster Ordnung zwischen irgend einer Zahl Variabeln auf die Integration eines einzigen
Systemes gewohnlicher Differentialgleichungen", Journal fur die reine und angewandte Mathematik 17
(1838),97-162. 5 See Mario Bunge, "Lagrangian Formulation and Mechanical Interpretation", American Journal of Physics 25
(1957), pp. 211-218. 6 J. Clerk Maxwell, A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, 3rd edition (Oxford, 1892). 7 Auguste Comte, Cours de Philosophie Positive, Volume I (1830). Ernst Mach, The Science of Mechanics A
Critical and Historical Account of its Development (Open Court, 1960). The English translation appeared
in 1893. The German first edition was published in 1883 as Die Mechanik in Ihrer Entwicklung HistorischKritisch Dargestellt. Pierre Duhem, The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (New York: Athenum, 1974).
Duhem's book appeared originally in French in 1906 as La Theorie physique, son object et son structure. The
English translation is of the second 1914 edition. 8 Ibid Mach, pp. 561-2. TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION
Let the Translation Give the Thought of the Author
in the Idiom of the Reader More than two hundred years have passed since Lagrange published the Mechanique anaUtique' in 1788. During this period four editions followed and were
each reviewed and annotated. The second edition was prepared almost entirely
by Lagrange toward the end of his life. It is a greatly expanded version of the
first edition and was published in two volumes rather than only one as in the
case of the first edition. The first volume of the second edition appeared in
1811 and the second volume had just reached the printer when Lagrange died.
It is this edition which is translated here. This edition was completed by de
Prony and Gamier and it appeared in 1815. A third edition was prepared by
Bertrand in 1853. The third edition includes mathematical corrections by Bertrand,
mathematical notes by various scientists of the day and finally, three memoirs by
Lagrange. The Oeuvres 2 of Lagrange contain a fourth edition of this work which
was edited by Darboux. It reproduces nearly all of the third edition. The added
memoirs of Lagrange have been deleted because they appear in other volumes of
the Oeuvres. Two mathematical notes by Darboux have been added to the text.
This edition appeared in 1888 to mark the hundredth anniversary of the first edition
and comprises volumes XI and XII of the Oeuvres. Finally, a fifth edition of this
work appeared in 1965 and incorporated the text and notes of the third edition with
the notes of the fourth edition.
There have been three translations of this work - one into German, a second
into Portuguese and a third into Russian. 3 All three translations were of the first
edition. The German translation appeared in 1797 with a second printing in
1887, the Portuguese translation in 1798 and the Russian translation in 1938 with
a second edition in 1950. It is not surprising that there have been only three
attempts at translation. During the two hundred years that this book has been
in existence, the French language is understood worldwide and consequently,
there is no need for a translation. However, this explanation overlooks a second
reason for the lack of an English translation; the inherent difficulty of translating
such a philosophically and mathematically sophisticated work as the Mecanique
analytique. The broad mathematical and language skills required of a would-be
translator makes a translation of this work a formidable undertaking. The work
has never been translated into English. We thought it time to offer an English
translation especially since the prominent place of the French language in the
world has been taken by English. xi xu MEcANIQUE ANALYTIQUE LIFE OF LAGRANGE Whenever an individual attains universal recognition by a monumental achievement, curiosity conceming the life of its creator is only natural. We wonder what
Lagrange may have said or thought about more mundane topics or how he may
have earned his livelihood. It is a trait of human nature. After all, in our case, the
Mecanique analytique received an acclaim which put the reputation of its creator
in an exalted circle. In its own right, it is as great a book as Newton's Principia.
While the Principia created and organized the science of mechanics, Lagrange's
effort was to bring a large portion of what was known about mechanics in his day
under one principle - the Principle of Virtual Work. In the course of this undertaking, Lagrange contributed a great deal to the further organization of mechanics.
In addition, he displayed a depth and breadth of abstract analysis in the Mecanique
which puts him far beyond his contemporaries. In this regard, the Mecanique
analytique displays the elegance and simplicity which is characteristic of all of his
works.
Newton's scientific work, in addition, had a great impact on philosophy. The
empirical nature of his science was carried over into the creation of philosophical
systems. For example, the British empirical school of philosophy developed from
Newton's scientific achievements. In a somewhat different fashion, Lagrange's
work is the realization of a philosophical program which formed a significant part
of an 18th century movement embracing all of human knowledge. This broad
movement came to be known as the Enlightenment in English-speaking countries.
In order to understand the claim we have made, it is necessary to describe the
thought of a leading representative of this movement-Jean Ie Rond d' Alembert
(1717-1783). D' Alembert held that a science should be deduced from clear
and distinct mathematically formulated concepts of natural phenomena. He also
claimed that a science is fully-developed when its principles are reduced to the
least possible number and its methodology become...

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