In Lagrange’s production, the works of astronomy constitute the major part of his scientific activity and testify to the success of the application of calculus as well as to the invention of new mathematical methods arising from astronomic problems in the field of mathematical analysis and of probabilities. In agreement with the historian of mathematics, Gino Loria (1913), out of a total of 4642 pages of the memoirs contained in the 'Oeuvres' de Lagrange (14 vol., Paris 1867-1892), about 1650 can be classified as concerning astronomy: more than double of those dedicated to questions of analysis (714 p.) or mathematical physics (553 p.). In 1764, when Lagrange was still in Turin, his "Recherches sur la libration de la Lune" received an award in Paris (prix de l’Académie des Sciences), and were perfected in Berlin ("Théorie de la libration de la Lune"). When he was in Berlin as director of the class of mathematics at the Academy of Frederic II, he composed his fundamental memoirs "Sur les inégalités des satellites de Jupiter" (1766), "Sur le problème des trois corps" (1772), "Sur les équations séculaires des mouvements des nœuds et des inclinations des orbites des planètes" (1774), "Sur la théorie des perturbations des comètes" (1778). During 1808-09, when Lagrange was senator and count of the Napoleonic Empire, he presented his last great memoirs "Variations des éléments des planètes" to the Institut de France. In this paper attention will be focused on the following: a comparison between the progress of astronomy and hydrodynamics, another field left open by Newton; the increase of mathematical methods favoured by astronomical research (the variation of arbitrary constants, the principle of virtual velocity etc.); works concerning probability and finite difference equations which Lagrange and Laplace undertook particularly regarding astronomical problems. References to numerous questions regarding Lagrange’s memoirs on astronomy are to be found in his correspondence with d’Alembert, Euler and Laplace.
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|Titolo:||Lagrange and the Progress in Astronomy|
BORGATO, Maria Teresa (Primo)
PEPE, Luigi (Co-primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||Being printed|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo, articolo)|