Logic status of virtual work laws.- Greek origins.- Arabic and Latin science of weights.- Italian Renaissance statics.- Torricelli's principle.- European statics during the XVI and XVII centuries.- The principle of virtual velocities.- The Jesuit school of the XVIII century.- Lagrange's contribution.- Lazare Carnot's mechanics of collision.- The debate in Italy.- The debate at the Ecole polytechnique.- Poinsot's criticism.- The treatises of mechanics.- Virtual work laws and continuum mechanics.- Thermodynamical approach.
Danilo Capecchi is full professor of mechanics of solids and of history of science at the University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy). His researches in the history of science mainly concern classical mechanics.
From the reviews:"The book under review is a survey work that covers the whole span of history from antiquity to the middle of the nineteenth century ... . a substantial contribution to the history of physical science and will become a standard reference source for the history of mechanics. ... Throughout the book there are quotations and passages from primary sources, translated into English. ... The bibliography contains extensive references to the secondary literature ... ." (Craig G. Fraser, Mathematical Reviews, June, 2013)