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, the 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. After a philosophical evaluation of the variational approach, the text is divided into 11 chapters.
Ideal for a two-semester graduate course, The Variational Principles of Mechanics 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.