Celestial Mechanics

The new branch of mathematics called fluxions by Newton1 allowed astronomers to calculate orbits of celestial bodies and led to a flowering of physics in the following century. Joseph Louis Lagrange summarized this success story in his Mécanique analytique (1788) in which he developed a method for casting different mechanical problems into mathematical form. He was proud that he did not need a single figure in his famous book which was not exactly "reader-friendly." Everything could be represented by formulae and algebraic operations (Fig. 11.1).

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