Analytical mechanics is, of course, a topic of perennial interest and usefulness in physics and engineering, a discipline that boasts not only many practical applications, but much inherent mathematical beauty. Unlike many standard textbooks on advanced mechanics, however, this present text eschews a primarily technical and formalistic treatment in favor of a fundamental, historical, philosophical approach. As the author remarks, there is a tremendous treasure of philosophical meaning” behind the great theories of Euler and Lagrange, Hamilton, Jacobi, and other mathematical thinkers.
Well-written, authoritative, and scholarly, this classic treatise begins with an introduction to the variational principles of mechanics including the procedures of Euler, Lagrange, and Hamilton.
Ideal for a two-semester graduate course, the book includes a variety of problems, carefully chosen to familiarize the student with new concepts and to illuminate the general principles involved. Moreover, it offers excellent grounding for the student of mathematics, engineering, or physics who does not intend to specialize in mechanics, but wants a thorough grasp of the underlying principles.
The late Professor Lanczos (Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies) was a well-known physicist and educator who brought a superb pedagogical sense and profound grasp of the principles of mechanics to this work, now available for the first time in an inexpensive Dover paperback edition. His book will be welcomed by students, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, and anyone interested in a clear masterly exposition of this all-important discipline.