Lazare Carnot’s theory of machines and the background of Ampère’s introduction of the word kinematics

Teun Koetsier

ABSTRACT: Circa 1830 Ampère developed a new classification of human knowledge, which included the definition of a new subscience of mechanics called kinematics. In this paper I will discuss the background of this proposal. I will in particular discuss Lazare Carnot’s Essai sur la composition des machines of 1783 and his Principes fondamentaux de l’équilibre et du movement of 1803. Lazare Carnot started the investigation of machines in terms of energy. Moreover Carnot’s approach is such that it will become clear as well that an independent geometrical science of motion that does not take masses and forces into consideration was in the air.

KEYWORDS: Lazare Carnot, Ampère, Kinematics, History of Mechanism and Machine Science

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