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Mathematical Treasure: Vega's Lectures on Applied Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Georg Vega (1754-1802) was born in Slovenia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by the Hapsburgs from Vienna. Georg, having studied mathematics, migrated to Vienna, where he became an artillery officer and then a mathematics lecturer at the artillery school. His four-volume Vorlesungen über die Mathematik (first volume, 1782) was based on his class lectures. Later, he would become famous for compiling an important table of logarithms. These excerpts are from the third (1788) and fourth (1819) volumes of his lectures.

Volume 3 of Vega’s lectures, which focused on mechanics, was published in 1788.

Plate I from the text indicates considerations of oscillating motion.

Volume 4, the last in the series, appeared in 1819. It discussed hydrostatics and aerodynamics, the latter a topic relevant to trajectories for artillery.

Table IX provides graphic analysis for the trajectories of artillery shells.

The images above are presented courtesy of the History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries.

For images from Volume 2 of Vega's Vorlesungen über die Mathematick, see Mathematical Treasure: Vega's Lectures on Mathematics.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Vega's Lectures on Applied Mathematics," Convergence (May 2019)