Saturday, 29 October 2022

#27 Barycenter ...from old Math Terms notes

Barycenter The word barycenter is another term for the center of gravity or centroid. The Greek root is barus which generally refers to weighty or heavy. The more ancient Indo-European root seems to have come from a word like "gwerus" and has relatives in our words for gravity and grave.
Another word derived from the same root is baryon, the name for a family of particles that are heavier (more massive) than mesons. The word barometer also comes from the same root and is so named because, in a sense, it measures how heavy the air is. Another related word still in current use is baritone, which literally means heavy voiced. The science names for the chemical barium and the ore from which we obtain it, barite, also called "heavy spar", are both from the same root.
The History of Math web site at St. Andrews University in Scotland credits the creation of barycenters to August Möbius (1790-1868):

In 1827 Möbius published Der barycentrische Calcul, a geometrical book which studies transformations of lines and conics. The novel feature of this work is the introduction of barycentric coordinates. Given any triangle ABC then if weights a, b and c are placed at A, B and C respectively then a point P, the center of gravity, is determined. Möbius showed that every point P in the plane is determined by the homogeneous coordinates [a,b,c], the weights required to be placed at A, B and C to give the center of gravity at P. The importance here is that Möbius was considering directed quantities, an early appearance of vectors.

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