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Calculus of variations
(964 words)

1. Origins

The core of the calculus of variations in its simplest form lies in finding a function that maximizes or minimizes a fixed definite integral.. The term calculus of variations was proposed in the 18th century by Leonhard Euler, following Joseph Louis de Lagrange, and refers to the procedure of using extremal conditions to identify the function in question in such a way that the value of the integral changes only minimally with small variations in the function. As a recognizable part of mathematics, the calculus o…

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Fraser, Craig and Rammer, Gerhard, “Calculus of variations”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_031182>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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