The 18th century had sought a huge, immense progress in mathematics. As late as 17th century people still wrote algebraic equations with words. But by the end of 18th century we had
- Mathematical analysis and theory of differential equations
- Complex numbers fully formalized and the connection between trigonometric and hyperbolic functions discovered
- Gamma and Zeta functions discovered and described
- Calculus of variations
- Theory of graphs
- Probability theory and combinatorics
It seems that the most of mathematics that could be used in today's engineering applications was developed in 18th century. Neither 19th nor 20th century had saught such a major breakthrough despite the rise of industry, technology and appearance of computers.
I wonder what was the drive behind these successes in mathematics at a century when it would not be expected to find a lot of applications.
Was it indeed driven by the needs of industry, military and technological progress?
Or was it developed as a form of amusement because some nobility had a lot of spare time?
Or was it due to personality traits of some of government leaders who sponsored mathematics and made it a very prestigious profession of the time?