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Le problème de la résistance des fluides dans l'Encyclopédie et l'Encyclopédie méthodique de Mathématiques

By Alexandre Guilbaud


At the end of the 17th century the law of fluid resistance established by Newton gives the opportunity to apply mathematics to new physical and mechanical situations in very important fields on a economic and military point of views: marine, military arts and hydraulics. This opportunity however faces several obstacles. The first one is theoretical. The second one concerns the relations between the stakeholders, and requires to take into account the transformation of the status and role of one of them, the engineer, which may be able to develop bridges between theoreticians and artisans. During the second half of the 18th century, the fluid resistance raises several questions, one of which follows from the difficulties encountered, and concerns the usefulness of theory for practice. Panckoucke's Encyclopédie méthodique consisting in a reorganization per subject of the knowledge gathered in Diderot's and D'Alembert's Encyclopédie (1751-1765), the Dictionnaire de Mathématiques, published between 1784 and 1789, is thus an especially interesting work to deal with this question. Based on the study of fluid resistance and its applications, I will first emphasize the small place given to the mathematics applied to concrete problems, namely in marine and ballistics. I will show that this statement is not only due to the edition process of the dictionary, but also to the ideas of the editors (Bossut and Charles) on the usefulness of mathematics in practice

Topics: Encyclopédie méthodique de Marine, résistance des fluides, histoire des mathématiques mixtes, histoire des mathématiques appliquées, Encyclopédie de Diderot et D'Alembert, Encyclopédie méthodique de Mathématique, [ MATH.MATH-HO ] Mathematics [math]/History and Overview [math.HO], [ SHS.HISPHILSO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences
Publisher: Presses universitaires de Nancy
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-00923687v1
Provided by: Hal-Diderot

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