talk.origins probability-abiogenesis FAQ criticized

David Ewan Kahana dek at bnl.gov
Fri Jan 12 19:23:04 EST 2001


Jonathan Stone wrote:

> In article <3A5E4252.525566D7 at research.bell-labs.com>,
> Ken Cox  <kcc at lucent.com> wrote:
> >zOz wrote:
>

[snip]

>
> >his physics and optics founded new fields.
>
> and the calculus went a fair way, too.  (Didn't Newton invent
> the calulus of variations overnight, to solve what was essentially
> a dinner-table puzzle? or is that academic legend?)
>

That would be the problem of the curve of least time connecting
two points in a gravitational field, to which the solution is
a brachistochrone? The way I heard this story was as follows:
Euler was told an unattributed solution, pronounced it correct, and
said that it had the stamp of `the lion' on it. `The lion,'  of course,
was Isaac Newton.

I don't know whether documentary evidence exists to support the
story or not. Newton was notoriously reluctant to publish his
work on calculus.

cheers,

- dave k.






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