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La théorie de la capillarité selon Laplace: Mathématisation superficielle ou étendue? (The theory of capillarity according to Laplace: superficial or extended mathematisation?). (French) Zbl 0674.01010
The author treats Laplace’s mathematisation of capillarity in various writings on the mid 1800s, most notably in two supplements to volume 4 of his Mécanique céleste. This study was an important early step in his creation of what has become called ‘Laplacian physics’, a ‘physical mechanics’ (to use a phrase of the time) extending the methods of mechanics into areas of physics (and thereby forming a bridge between mechanics and the later inauguration of mathematical physics). The technique of modelling by means of inter-molecular central forces is described in some detail. \(\{\) The survey of secondary literature in footnote 16 lacks a very useful recent item: A. Rüger, ‘Die Molekularhypothese in der Theorie der Kapillarerscheinungen (1805-1873)’, Centaurus 28, 244-276 (1985; Zbl 0586.01007)\(\}\).
Reviewer: I.Grattan-Guinness
01A55 History of mathematics in the 19th century
76-03 History of fluid mechanics
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