Closing remarks
Hopefully the engineers reading this book find its theoretical foundation clear
and concise, and the analytic and computational examples enlightening. The
focus of the applications on mechanical engineering reflects only the author’s
personal expertise and is not meant to imply any restriction of applicability
to other engineering disciplines.
The book was designed to be a self-contained coverage of the topic specifi-
cally addressed to the practicing engineer or engineering student reader. Dif-
ficult discussions about spaces of functions and rigorous proofs were avoided
to make the topic accessible with a standard engineering mathematics foun-
With more numerical examples and exercises added, the book may be used
as a textbook in the engineering curriculum. It could also be a practical al-
ternative to the abstract approaches frequently used in teaching calculus of
variations in advanced mathematics courses.
The reference list reflects the lack of recent attention to the topic of the
calculus of variations. The original publications, however, are not only listed
here for historical homage. The most readable, despite the archaic style, may
be the oldest ones, albeit most of them were not specifically written for an en-
gineering audience. This shortcoming is intended to be corrected by this book.
The reference list is also rather short, containing only those publications
that directly influenced the writing of this book. They are all available, some
of them in inexpensive reprints, and accessible in English.

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