Wallis's method of interpolation attracted the attention of the young Euler, who obtained some important results. The problem of interpolation led Euler to formulate the problem of integration, i.e., to express the general term of a series by means of an integral. The latter problem was connected to the question of expressing the sum of a series using an integral. The outcome of this research was Euler's derivation of what would later become known as the Euler-Maclaurin formula. Euler subsequently returned to interpolation and formulated the theory of inexplicable functions including the gamma function. The methods used by Euler illustrate well the principles of 18th-century analysis. Eulerian procedures are based upon the notion of geometric quantity. A function is actually conceived as the expression of a quantity and, for this reason, it intrinsically possesses properties we can term continuity, differentiability, Taylor expansion. These correspond to the usual properties of a curve which has "regular" characteristics (lack of jumps, presence of tangents, curvature radius, etc.). They have a "figural" clarity. Although Eulerian analysis remains rooted in geometry, it dispenses with figural representation: it is substantially nonfigural geometry. Reasoning with figures (which integrates the proof in classical geometry) is replaced by reasoning with analytic symbols. These are general because they do not represent a particular quantity and are not subjected to restrictions, but are an abstract representation of quantity. (C) 1988 Academic Press.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1006/hmat.1998.2195|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000076261300004|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-0038066364|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|