Editorial | Published:

The Theory of Screws1

Nature volume 42, pages 127132 | Download Citation



THE book before us, a large octavo volume of over 600 pages, gives in a connected form the results of Sir R. S. Ball's investigation in the theory of screws, as contained in his “Theory of Screws” and a series of publications in the Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy. But as its scheme is that of a text-book on theoretical mechanics, it begins with a chapter on the postulates and methods of mechanics; whilst chapter vii. is on the theory of moments of inertia; chapter viii. on impulsive forces capable of imparting to a rigid body a given state of velocity; and chapter x., on kinetic energy, contains a number of propositions from analytical dynamics. Here expressions for the kinetic energy, for its change in consequence of an impulse, Lagrange's equations of motion in generalized co-ordinates, Hamilton's principle of least action, and various other propositions, are developed in the usual form—that is to say, without the use of screws. The rest of the book relates to the theory of screws and its applications. This alone, as forming the characteristic feature of the book, concerns us here, and of it we shall try to give an outline.

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