The Australian Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications

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ISSN 1449-5910  


Paper Information

Paper Title:

On the Oldest Problem in the Calculus of Variations: A New Message from Queen Dido


Olivier de La Grandville

Faculty of Economics,
Goethe University Frankfurt,
Theodore Adorno Platz 4, 60323 Frankfurt,


We consider the problem of finding the optimal curve of given length linking two points in a plane such as it encloses a maximal area. We show that if the curve is not described by a single-valued function, its determination does not necessarily imply to work with a parametric representation of the curve. We show that a simpler approach is at hand -- and, who knows? -- this might well be the method Queen Dido used.

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