Jacob Bernoulli is known for his studies of the curves, infinitesimal math- ematics and statistics. However, before being a professor in mathematics, he taught experimental physics at the University of Basel. This explains his high interest in solving physical problems with newly developed Leibnizian calculus. In his scientific notebook, *Meditationes*, there are more than thirty notes about various mechanical problems for solving of which Bernoulli has applied Leibnizian calculus and has advanced this method along the way. A discussion with a craftsman brought Bernoulli’s attention to the problem of the strength of a beam early in his career and occupied his mind until his death. The craftsman’s narration based on his experience highlighted the flaws in Galilean-Leibnizian theory of the strength of a beam. This was the starting point of Bernoulli’s quest to mathematically find the profile of a bent beam (the *Elastica Problem*) and the physical laws governing it. He started a challenge to encourage other mathematicians of the time to study the problem, providing a hint hidden in an anagram. Although he published his solution of the *Elastica Problem* in 1694, that was not the end of the quest for him. Studying his unpublished notes in *Meditationes* reveals that over the last decade of his life, Bernoulli has reconsidered the problem. In my project, I demonstrate that he has found remarkable concepts such as mean tensile stress, and the notion of local stress-strain relation, etc.

Seminar series

Date

Tue, 12 Mar 2019

Time

14:00 -
15:00

Location

C2

Speaker

Sepideh Alassi

Organisation

University of Basel