J. Willard Gibbs' Vector Analysis


Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839 - 1903) made important theoretical contributions to physics, chemistry, and mathematics. His work on the applications of thermodynamics was instrumental in transforming physical chemistry into a rigorous inductive science. Together with Maxwell and Boltzmann, he created statistical mechanics, explaining the laws of thermodynamics as consequences of the statistical properties of ensembles of the possible states of a physical system composed of many particles. Gibbs also worked on the application of Maxwell's equations to problems in physical optics. As a mathematician, he invented modern vector calculus (independently of the British scientist Oliver Heaviside.

Vector Analysis is a textbook by Edwin Bidwell Wilson, first published in 1901 and based on the lectures that Josiah Willard Gibbs had delivered on the subject at Yale University. The book did much to standardize the notation and vocabulary of three-dimensional linear algebra and vector calculus, as used by physicists and mathematicians. The work is now in the public domain.
 

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