The mathematical pendulum from Gauß via Jacobi to Riemann

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Abstract

The goal of this article is to introduce double-periodic elliptic functions on the basis of a “simple” mechanical system, that of the mathematical pendulum. Thereby it is not geometry that is in the foreground, as in Gauß's analysis of the lemniscatian curve, but rather the calculation of the specific attributes of elliptic functions with the aid of a periodic integrable system. Not the spatial degree of freedom, but the time variable is continued into the complex plane. This will make it possible for us to not only identify the known real period of the pendulum oscillation, but also to detect a second imaginary period. Only then does the solution of the equation of motion become a Jacobi-type elliptic function. Using the Cauchy integral theorem, which Gauß was already familiar with, as well as the simplest Riemannian surface of the function

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, we want to calculate the analytic and topological characteristics of the oscillatory motion of a pendulum. Our intent is to show that elliptic functions could have appeared much earlier than 1796 in the literature. Admittedly, for this the field of complex numbers was necessary, as represented in the Gaußian plane of complex numbers. However, Gauß was unwilling to publish his findings because of his “fear of the cry of the Boeotians”.

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