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37 votes
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How was Lagrange appointed professor of mathematics so early?

Lagrange enrolled to the university at the age of 14, to study law. But he quickly switched to mathematics. According to his biography, his mother was surprised when the French ambassador presented ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
13 votes
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Did Euler produce any Russian text?

Yes, Euler wrote letters in Russian: (Euler's letter to Nartov, June 18, 1743) Interestingly, he signed papers as "Леонгардъ Эулеръ", a direct transliteration of his name, not how he is ...
Anixx's user avatar
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12 votes
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Have all of Euler's works been translated?

No, not all. I don't think that they are even all published in the original language. There is an ongoing project of translating Euler's mathematical work (only mathematical) Euler archive and you can ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
9 votes
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What sort of science is satirized in Hogarth's Weighing House?

Clubbe's Physiognomy, where the etching is the frontispiece, is accessible on Internet Archive. Clubbe's target was the so-called pneumatology ("science of spirit"), a popular in the 18th ...
Conifold's user avatar
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9 votes
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What was the scientific explanation of earthquakes in the 18th century?

Aristotle's idea of earthquakes caused by "winds within the Earth" had much currency for centuries, if they were ascribed to natural causes at all. Here is from Agnew's History of Seismology ...
Conifold's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does "in-4o" mean in this French collection from 1768?

It's the format: 'in quarto'. The printed sheet of paper is folded twice, resulting in four folded sheets = eight pages.
xxavier's user avatar
  • 704
7 votes
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How sensitive was the frog galvanoscope?

A frog galvanoscope does not measure voltage. Instead it detects electricity that same way that I detect my static charge after walking across a carpet in winter - by a short current flow. The current ...
David Bailey's user avatar
  • 1,242
5 votes

What was the first "scientific", non-photographic depiction of Earth as seen from outside of Earth?

I don't know, but Images of earth from outside had been made for more than 500 years. A globe of the Earth would seem to count as a "depiction of any kind". The sphericity of the Earth was ...
M.A. Golding's user avatar
  • 1,323
5 votes

Entry 97 in Gauss's diary and the status of "lunar parallax" in the late 18th century

Lunar parallax is a composite problem. Two parts of it are related by the 'horizontal parallax', $\pi$ in the source you cited and linked. It is evaluated in one part of the problem and applied in the ...
terry-s's user avatar
  • 4,600
5 votes
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Reference request: modern assesement of J.H. Lambert's work on the "fluidity of sand"

Johann Heinrich Lambert was Swiss and published in French, German, and Latin. One way of finding the relevant paper is therefore to translate the title's English translation back to those languages ...
njuffa's user avatar
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5 votes
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What books did Lavoisier read?

There is online a Panopticon Lavoisier which is a tool for searching the Archives de l’Académie des sciences, Fonds Lavoisier. The link to "library" is introduced thus: The catalogue of ...
sand1's user avatar
  • 2,422
5 votes

Why did pre-17th century mathematics mostly come from Italy but later mathematics came from France, Germany and England?

Analysis got a head start in the work of Italian indivisibilists Cavalieri, Torricelli, degli Angeli, and others. However, the budding analysis was viewed with disfavor by some in the Catholic ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 6,162
4 votes
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When William Herschel discovered Uranus, who else at the time had a comparable telescope?

(Partial answer - and a bit long winded) Regarding comparable telescopes - source : The Herschel Objects and How to Observe Them, by James Mullaney. Herschel's telescopes far surpassed in both ...
nwr's user avatar
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4 votes
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What did Louis XV actually call Charles Messier?

The English name is a literal translation from French. Félix Boquet, "Histoire de l'astronomie", Paris: Payot 1925, p. 466: Rappelons ici, en parenthèse, que comme pour Maskelyne et de La ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,704
4 votes

Who introduced the stream function?

d'Alembert did originally introduce the stream function in "Remarques sur les lois du mouvement des fluides" in 1761. Page 149 says that $$p = \frac{\partial \omega}{\partial x} \,,$$ $$q = ...
Andrew Trettel's user avatar
3 votes

Have all of Euler's works been translated?

If you are interested in reading Euler in English translation, you should take a look at Ian Bruce's excellent web site https://www.17centurymaths.com. His project involves the translation of ...
BlakeDavis's user avatar
3 votes
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Who introduced velocity potential?

It was Euler c. 1740s, Principia motus fluidorum was read to the Academy in 1752, but published even later. Daniel Bernoulli, who is sometimes also credited, did not introduce not only the velocity ...
Conifold's user avatar
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3 votes
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Lunar distance measurement reference

I can describe what they probably did, and why this measurement became possible in the end of 18th century, but to find the reference on this specific work, you give insufficient information. Names of ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
3 votes

When did mathematicians suspect that $\pi$ is irrational?

"suspect" is hard to track... François Viète in Variorum de rebus responsorum mathematics liber VIII (1593) discovered the first infinite product in the history of mathematics by giving an ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
3 votes

Why were the first steam engines “atmospheric engines”

The best answer to that question is the following book: The steam engine of Thomas Newcomen by L. T. C. Rolt, J. S. Allen 1977 Moorland Pub. Co. ; New York : Science History Publications, To ...
kevin olsen's user avatar
2 votes

Why did pre-17th century mathematics mostly come from Italy but later mathematics came from France, Germany and England?

This does not apply only to mathematics, but to all ancient culture. It was almost completely forgotten in Europe, and then it was slowly recalled, in the process which is called Renaissance. So, the ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes

Data that motivated early discussions about the mean and about error distributions

As described in this paper, Gauss became famous with his prediction of the orbit of Ceres based on observations by the astronomer Piazzi. Piazzi's astronomical data (from January and February 1801) ...
Tom Heinzl's user avatar
2 votes

The housing of the Cavendish Experiment

Neither the original publication: Henry Cavendish, "XXI. Experiments to determine the density of the earth." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 88, 1798, pp. 469-...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,704
1 vote

Have all of Euler's works been translated?

Some new translations (mostly into German but also into English) can be found on the website of the Euler Kreis Mainz.
Michael Bächtold's user avatar
1 vote

Have all of Euler's works been translated?

There are now 128 volumes in Euler's opera in the German central catalog of libraries here. There is no hope to get the formula digitized in the current state of mathematical OCR. There is some hope ...
Roland F's user avatar
1 vote

18th century childbirth — does anyone know anything about the tools or process?

Here I am quoting some interesting episodes of earlier researchers: An example- When a birth began to go horribly wrong, a cesarean section was the last option. There is one story of an American ...
drvrm's user avatar
  • 323
1 vote

18th century childbirth — does anyone know anything about the tools or process?

There are very knowledgable people on the c18-L and MEDMED-L listserves. You have to sign up on the web pages Google sends you to. The manager of MEDMED-L is Monica Green, [email protected], a ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 2,555

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