In a quiet morning at
work, you receive this mail that will keep you busy for the next few
Congratulations! The prestigious Trivalley Foundation
for the History of Mechanics (TFHM) has now agreed at your petition of
exploratory funding to investigate the contributions of Petrus van
Musschenbroek (PvM) to the field of column buckling.
As you argued in your presentation, a controversy has
reached the open literature regarding the origins of the studies of
buckling of columns. Most textbooks coincide in stating that the first
work in this field was due to Leonhard Euler in 1744. However, other
researchers state that much was known before Euler.
As a first step, and according to your previous
proposal, we need from you a two page paper in which you should argue
why PvM should be considered as the father of buckling studies instead
You have one week to hand in your paper to the mail
address indicated under “Report”. Because you have such a limited space,
please be careful to avoid superfluous material. Based on the strength
of your argumentation, the TFHM will decide on further funding of your
research. Remember that you should place the contributions of PvM in his
own time and context.
Again, congratulations from the board of the TFHM and
we wish you a most productive exploratory research.
John Torque, Ph.D., Secretary, TFHM
TFHM is a (fictitious) non-government institution to promote the
understanding of mechanics from a historical perspective