In the early calculus mathematicians used convergent series to represent geometrical quantities and solve geometrical problems. However, series were also manipulated formally using procedures that were the infinitary extension of finite procedures. By the 1720s results were being published that could not be reduced to the original conceptions of convergence and geometrical representation. This situation led Euler to develop explicitly a more formal approach which generalized the early theory. Formal analysis, which was predominant during the second half of the 18th century despite criticisms of it by some researchers, contributed to the enlargement of mathematics and even led to a new branch of analysis: the calculus of operations. However, formal methods could not give an adequate treatment of trigonometric series and series that were not the expansions of elementary functions. The need to use trigonometric series and introduce nonelementary functions led Fourier and Gauss to reject the formal concept of series and adopt a different, purely quantitative notion of series. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Convergence and formal manipulation in the theory of series from 1730 to 1815

FERRARO, Giovanni
2007

Abstract

In the early calculus mathematicians used convergent series to represent geometrical quantities and solve geometrical problems. However, series were also manipulated formally using procedures that were the infinitary extension of finite procedures. By the 1720s results were being published that could not be reduced to the original conceptions of convergence and geometrical representation. This situation led Euler to develop explicitly a more formal approach which generalized the early theory. Formal analysis, which was predominant during the second half of the 18th century despite criticisms of it by some researchers, contributed to the enlargement of mathematics and even led to a new branch of analysis: the calculus of operations. However, formal methods could not give an adequate treatment of trigonometric series and series that were not the expansions of elementary functions. The need to use trigonometric series and introduce nonelementary functions led Fourier and Gauss to reject the formal concept of series and adopt a different, purely quantitative notion of series. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/5658
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