Since the four co-ordinates (Cartesian or other) of these two points are connected by the relation which expresses the invariability of the length AB, it is plain that virtually three inde pendent elements are re quired and suffice to specify the position of the lamina.
Some valuable but isolated facts and theorems had been previously discovered and proved, but it was he who first clearly grasped the idea of force as a mechanical agent, and extended to the external world the conception of the invariability of the relation between cause and effect.
The proper share of each in bringing about this memorable result is not easy to apportion, since they freely imparted and profited by one another's advances and improvements; it need only be said that the fundamental proposition of the invariability of the planetary major axes laid down with restrictions by Laplace in 1773, was finally established by Lagrange in 1776; while Laplace in 1784 proved the subsistence of such a relation between the eccentricities of the planetary orbits on the one hand, and their inclinations on the other, that an increase of either element could, in any single case, proceed only to a very small extent.
Resuming the inquiry into the invariability of mean motions, Poisson carried the approximation, with Lagrange's formulae, as far as the squares of the disturbing forces, hitherto neglected, with the same result as to the stability of the system.
So assured, indeed, is the fact concerning the periodicalness of the sperm whale's resorting to given waters, that many hunters believe that, could he be closely observed and studied throughout the world; were the logs for one voyage of the entire whale fleet carefully collated, then the migrations of the sperm whale would be found to correspond in invariability to those of the herring-shoals or the flights of swallows.
Vii., 1776), Laplace announced his celebrated conclusion of the invariability of planetary mean motions, carrying the proof as far as the cubes of the eccentricities and inclinations.