Brachistochrone Problem/Historical Note

From ProofWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Historical Note on Brachistochrone Problem

The Brachistochrone Problem was raised by Johann Bernoulli to the readers of Acta Eruditorum in June $1696$.

Isaac Newton interpreted the problem as a direct challenge to his abilities, and (despite being out of practice) solved the problem in the evening before going to bed.

He published it anonymously, but Bernoulli recognised whose solution it was, and commented:

I recognise the lion by his print.

Bernoulli published the solution in the Acta Eruditorum in May $1697$, along with solutions by Jacob Bernoulli and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

With justice we admire Huygens because he first discovered that a heavy particle slides down to the bottom of a cycloid in the same time, no matter where it starts. But you will be petrified with astonishment when I say that this very same cycloid, the tautochrone of Huygens, is also the brachistochrone we are seeking.
-- Johann Bernoulli

Also see