A report on Pierre Louis Maupertuis

Maupertuis, wearing "lapmudes" from his Lapland expedition
Commemorating stamp of the French Geodesic Mission to Lapland.
Maupertuisiana (1753), published anonymously by Voltaire or König. On the cover is represented Don Quixote (Maupertuis) attacking the windmills with the broken lance and exclaiming "Tremoleu!". Underneath there is Sancho Panza (Euler) riding a saddle, while to the right a satyr exclaims: "This is how you get to the stars!"
Lettres

French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters.

- Pierre Louis Maupertuis
Maupertuis, wearing "lapmudes" from his Lapland expedition

18 related topics with Alpha

Overall

As the system evolves, q traces a path through configuration space (only some are shown). The path taken by the system (red) has a stationary action (δS = 0) under small changes in the configuration of the system (δq).

Stationary-action principle

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Variational principle that, when applied to the action of a mechanical system, yields the equations of motion for that system.

Variational principle that, when applied to the action of a mechanical system, yields the equations of motion for that system.

As the system evolves, q traces a path through configuration space (only some are shown). The path taken by the system (red) has a stationary action (δS = 0) under small changes in the configuration of the system (δq).

Scholars often credit Pierre Louis Maupertuis for formulating the principle of least action because he wrote about it in 1744 and 1746.

Joseph-Louis Lagrange

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Italian mathematician and astronomer, later naturalized French.

Italian mathematician and astronomer, later naturalized French.

Portrait of Joseph-Louis Lagrange (18th-century)
Lagrange's tomb in the crypt of the Panthéon
Joseph-Louis Lagrange

Lagrange also applied his ideas to problems of classical mechanics, generalising the results of Euler and Maupertuis.

Portrait of Newton at 46 by Godfrey Kneller, 1689

Isaac Newton

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English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosopher"), widely recognised as one of the greatest mathematicians and physicists of all time and among the most influential scientists.

English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosopher"), widely recognised as one of the greatest mathematicians and physicists of all time and among the most influential scientists.

Portrait of Newton at 46 by Godfrey Kneller, 1689
Sir Isaac Newton
Newton in 1702 by Godfrey Kneller
Replica of Newton's second reflecting telescope, which he presented to the Royal Society in 1672
Illustration of a dispersive prism separating white light into the colours of the spectrum, as discovered by Newton
Facsimile of a 1682 letter from Isaac Newton to Dr William Briggs, commenting on Briggs' A New Theory of Vision.
Engraving of a Portrait of Newton by John Vanderbank
Newton's own copy of his Principia, with hand-written corrections for the second edition, in the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Isaac Newton in old age in 1712, portrait by Sir James Thornhill
Coat of arms of the Newton family of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, afterwards used by Sir Isaac.
Newton's tomb monument in Westminster Abbey
A Wood engraving of Newton's famous steps under the apple tree.
Newton statue on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Newton (1795, detail) by William Blake. Newton is depicted critically as a "divine geometer".

Newton's inference that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was later confirmed by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, and others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems.

Entrance to the former Prussian Academy of Sciences on Unter Den Linden 8. Today it houses the Berlin State Library.

Prussian Academy of Sciences

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Academy established in Berlin, Germany on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste, or "Arts Academy," to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer.

Academy established in Berlin, Germany on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste, or "Arts Academy," to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer.

Entrance to the former Prussian Academy of Sciences on Unter Den Linden 8. Today it houses the Berlin State Library.

The membership was strong in mathematics and philosophy, and included notable philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert, Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis, and Etienne de Condillac.

Maupertuis's principle

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In classical mechanics, Maupertuis's principle (named after Pierre Louis Maupertuis) states that the path followed by a physical system is the one of least length (with a suitable interpretation of path and length).

Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724

Voltaire

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French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity—especially the Roman Catholic Church—and of slavery, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity—especially the Roman Catholic Church—and of slavery, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724
Voltaire was imprisoned in the Bastille from 16 May 1717 to 15 April 1718 in a windowless cell with ten-foot-thick walls.
Elémens de la philosophie de Neuton, 1738
In the frontispiece to Voltaire's book on Newton's philosophy, Émilie du Châtelet appears as Voltaire's muse, reflecting Newton's heavenly insights down to Voltaire.
Pastel by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1735
Die Tafelrunde by Adolph von Menzel: guests of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, including members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and Voltaire (third from left)
Voltaire's château at Ferney, France
House in Paris where Voltaire died
Jean-Antoine Houdon, Voltaire, 1778, National Gallery of Art
Voltaire's tomb in the Paris Panthéon
Title page of Voltaire's Candide, 1759
Voltaire at Frederick the Great's Sanssouci, by Pierre Charles Baquoy
Voltaire at 70; engraving from 1843 edition of his Philosophical Dictionary
Life and Works of Confucius, by Prospero Intorcetta, 1687
An illustration of a scene from Candide where the protagonist encounters a slave in French Guiana
Voltaire, by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1778 (National Gallery of Art)

He encountered other difficulties: an argument with Maupertuis, the president of the Berlin Academy of Science and a former rival for Émilie's affections, provoked Voltaire's Diatribe du docteur Akakia ("Diatribe of Doctor Akakia"), which satirized some of Maupertuis's theories and his persecutions of a mutual acquaintance, Johann Samuel König.

Portrait by Johann Georg Ziesenis, c. 1763

Frederick the Great

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King in Prussia from 1740 until 1772, and King of Prussia from 1772 until his death in 1786.

King in Prussia from 1740 until 1772, and King of Prussia from 1772 until his death in 1786.

Portrait by Johann Georg Ziesenis, c. 1763
24-year-old Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia, painting by Antoine Pesne, 1736
Frederick's marriage to Elisabeth Christine on 12 June 1733 at Schloss Salzdahlum
Rheinsberg Palace, Frederick's residence from 1736 to 1740
Europe at the time when Frederick came to the throne in 1740, with Brandenburg–Prussia in violet.
Europe at the time of Frederick's death in 1786, with Brandenburg–Prussia in violet, shows that Prussia's territory has been greatly extended by his Silesian Wars, his inheritance of East Frisia and the First Partition of Poland.
Battle of Hohenfriedberg, Attack of the Prussian Infantry, by Carl Röchling
Battle of Rossbach, a tactical victory for Frederick
Frederick leading his troops at the Battle of Zorndorf, by Carl Röchling
Frederick and his soldiers after the Battle of Hochkirch in 1758, by Carl Röchling
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth after the First Partition (1772)
King Frederick II, by Anna Dorothea Therbusch, 1772
Portrait by Wilhelm Camphausen, 1870
St. Hedwig's Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic church built in Berlin since the Reformation, was erected by the sanction of Frederick, who also sketched its design.
Frederick the Great inspects the potato harvest outside Neustettin (now Szczecinek, Poland), Eastern Pomerania
The Flute Concert of Sanssouci by Adolph Menzel, 1852, depicts Frederick playing the flute in his music room at Sanssouci as C. P. E. Bach accompanies him on a fortepiano by Gottfried Silbermann
Frederick the Great by Anton Graff, 1781
South, or garden façade and corps de logis of Sanssouci
The Round Table of King Frederick II in Sanssouci by Adolph Menzel with Voltaire, Algoretti, La Mettrie, the Keith brothers and Marquis d'Argens. Frederick is seated at the center, facing Voltaire (in the purple coat, leaning forward).
Frederick the Great and his staff at the Battle of Leuthen, by Hugo Ungewitter
Frederick in a Waffenrock (army tunic)
Frederick before the Battle of Torgau, 1760
Grave of Frederick at Sanssouci with potatoes, where he was buried only after the German reunification. (He wished to rest next to his dogs, but this was originally ignored.)
Frederick quoted by the Nazi propaganda poster Wochenspruch der NSDAP on 24 August 1941. Translation: "Now we have to think of leading the war in a way that we spoil the desire of the enemies to break the peace once again."

The membership was strong in mathematics and philosophy and included Immanuel Kant, D'Alembert, Pierre Louis de Maupertuis, and Étienne de Condillac.

Johann Samuel König

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German mathematician.

German mathematician.

Illustration about the article De nova quadam facili delineatu trajectoria... from Acta Eruditorum, 1735
Illustration about the article De centro inertiae... from Acta Eruditorum, 1738

Johann Bernoulli instructed both König and Pierre Louis Maupertuis as pupils during the same period.

Modern biology began in the nineteenth century with Charles Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection.

Natural selection

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Differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype.

Differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype.

Modern biology began in the nineteenth century with Charles Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection.
Aristotle considered whether different forms could have appeared, only the useful ones surviving.
Part of Thomas Malthus's table of population growth in England 1780–1810, from his Essay on the Principle of Population, 6th edition, 1826
Charles Darwin noted that pigeon fanciers had created many kinds of pigeon, such as Tumblers (1, 12), Fantails (13), and Pouters (14) by selective breeding.
Evolutionary developmental biology relates the evolution of form to the precise pattern of gene activity, here gap genes in the fruit fly, during embryonic development.
During the industrial revolution, pollution killed many lichens, leaving tree trunks dark. A dark (melanic) morph of the peppered moth largely replaced the formerly usual light morph (both shown here). Since the moths are subject to predation by birds hunting by sight, the colour change offers better camouflage against the changed background, suggesting natural selection at work.
1: directional selection: a single extreme phenotype favoured. 2, stabilizing selection: intermediate favoured over extremes. 3: disruptive selection: extremes favoured over intermediate. X-axis: phenotypic trait Y-axis: number of organisms Group A: original population Group B: after selection
Different types of selection act at each life cycle stage of a sexually reproducing organism.
The peacock's elaborate plumage is mentioned by Darwin as an example of sexual selection, and is a classic example of Fisherian runaway, driven to its conspicuous size and coloration through mate choice by females over many generations.
Selection in action: resistance to antibiotics grows though the survival of individuals less affected by the antibiotic. Their offspring inherit the resistance.

The classical arguments were reintroduced in the 18th century by Pierre Louis Maupertuis and others, including Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865)

William Rowan Hamilton

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Irish mathematician, astronomer, and physicist.

Irish mathematician, astronomer, and physicist.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865)
Master Noakes, the mental calculator, 1827 lithograph
Quaternion Plaque on Broom Bridge
Irish commemorative coin celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth

His principle of "Varying Action" was based on the calculus of variations, in the general class of problems included under the principle of least action which had been studied earlier by Pierre Louis Maupertuis, Euler, Joseph Louis Lagrange and others.