Joseph Liouville, 1809-82: Master of Pure and Applied Mathematics

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9783540971801: Joseph Liouville, 1809-82: Master of Pure and Applied Mathematics

This scientific biography of the mathematician Joseph Liouville is divided into two parts. The first part is a chronological account of Liouville's career including a description of the institutions he worked in, his relations with his teachers, colleagues and students, and the historical context of his works. It portrays the French scientific community in a period when Germany and England had surpassed France as the leading nations in mathematics and physics. The second part of the book gives a detailed analysis of Liouville's major contributions to mathematics and mechanics. The gradual development of Liouville's ideas, as reflected in his publications and notebooks, are related to the works of his predecessors and his contemporaries as well as to later developments in the field. On the basis of Liouville's unpublished notes the book reconstructs Liouville's hitherto unknown theories of stability of rotating masses of fluid, potential theory, Galois theory and electrodynamics. It also incorporates valuable added information from Liouville's notes regarding his works on differentiation of arbitrary order, integration in finite terms, Sturm-Liouville theory, transcendental numbers, doubly periodic functions, geometry and mechanics.

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