Back to . . . | Her book was a model of mathematical typography. The two volume work opens with simple algebra and continues for 1,020 pages of increasingly difficult propositions, 49 pages of illustrations, and one page of "Errori" with "Correzioni." |
END
Translation
from the “Milanese” Dialect into Modern Italian
“Concludo l'opera invitando l'analista accorto a studiare i metodi che
si vedono adoperati da illustri Matematici ne' Problemi delle Curve
Elastiche, Catenarie, Velarie, in quello degli Isoperimetri, ed in
altri, le soluzioni de' quali pubblicate s negli Atti di Lipsia, come
in altre opere, si potranno leggere, a fine di acquistare quella
avvedutezza e
destrezza, che necessaria.”
......and
then from the Modern Italian into English.
“I will conclude this work inviting the prudent analyst to study the
methods employed by notable mathematicians in solving problems
regarding elastic curves, catenaria (cosh x), velaria, iso-perimeter,
and others published in the Leipzig
Acta, and in other works, that can
be read to gain the additional shrewdness and dexterousness that is
needed.”
Explanation
of the Curves
The reader is called upon to remember that Agnesi was a younger
contemporary of James Bernoulli. She undoubtedly knew of his
interest in isochronous curves and his work on the construction of the
catenary. The other curves mentioned in Agnesi’s closing are more
obscure. By “elastiche” she probably meant Bernoulli’s elastic
rod, fixed at one end, but stretched in another direction. The
word “velaria” probably means a sail filled with wind. Bernoulli
had even offered a prize for the general solution of isoperimetric
figures, i.e., figures of a given species and given perimeter having a
maximum area.
Angel
J. di Billio
Jasmin
Faraone Mennella
Shirley
B. Gray
Pasadena,
CA
April,
2005
Colson's 1801 Translation
.....from one of the first pages. Math students will recognize an |
MGA wrote "for her own enjoyment and
to help
her brother." While most of her contemporaries were publishing in
Latin, she chose to publish in an Italian written dialect, a more or
less
purified Tuscan. Purified Tuscan was a written language created
by
Dante and others, but little spoken until almost 100 years after
Agnesi's
death. Her native dialect was Milanese. MGA enjoyed
learning
and speaking different languages.
With wide margins, large fonts, and many illustrations, the book was easy to read. In order to closely supervise its production and design, she had the local print shop move the presses into her father's house where she worked while surrounded by 20 younger brothers and sisters. |