Unrolling Time: Christiaan Huygens and the Mathematization of Nature

Cambridge University Press, 1988 - 238 pàgines
This case study examines the interrelationship between mathematics and physics in the work of one of the major figures of the Scientific Revolution, the Dutch mathematician, physicist, and astronomer, Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). Professor Yoder offers a detailed account of the discoveries that Huygens made at the end of 1659, including the invention of a pendulum clock that theoretically kept absolutely uniform time, and the creation of a mathematical theory of evolutes. She also describes the way that each of these important discoveries arose from the interaction of Huygens' mathematics and physics. A discussion of Huygens' relationship with other scientists and the priority disputes that sometimes motivated his research help place his work in the context of the period. The reception of Huygens' masterpiece, the Horologium Oscillatorium of 1673 and the place of evolutes in the history of mathematics are also analyzed. Finally, the role of Huygens in the rise of applied mathematics is addressed.

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