Publisher Information: Lausanne & Geneva: 1744.
Euler, Leonhard (1707-1783). Methodus inveniendi lineas curvas maximi minimive proprietate gaudentes, sive solutio problematis isoperimetrici latissimo sensu accepti. 4to. , 322, pp. 5 folding engraved plates. Lausanne & Geneva: Marc-Michel Bousquet & Compagnie, 1744. 248 x 199 mm. Half Italian mottled calf, gilt spine, marbled boards c. 1744, rubbed, some wear at extremities and corners, a few small wormholes in the spine, bookplate cut out of inside front endpaper. Minor foxing and toning, and plates browned, as is usual for this work, but a very good completely unrestored copy. From the library of Pietro Riccardi (1828-98), historian, bibliographer and collector of mathematics, with his bookplate on the front endpaper.
First Edition. With the publication of this work, the calculus of variations came into being as a new branch of mathematics. Euler was the first to formulate the principal problems of the calculus of variations and to create general methods for their solution. His work in the Methodus was cumbersome by modern standards (the calculus of variations as we know it is the work of Lagrange), but it yielded simple and elegant formulae applicable to a large variety of problems. He introduced (using different terminology) the concepts of function and variation, distinguished between problems of absolute and relative extrema, and deduced the differential equation that now bears his name. This copy is from the library of the collector and bibliographer of the history of Italian mathematics Pietro Riccardi, author of Biblioteca matematica italiana (1870-93). Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science, 28. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 111. Norman 731. Kline, Mathematical Thought, pp. 377-79. Struik, Source Book in Mathematics, pp. 399-406.Book Id: 42452