Bernoulli, Nikolaus II

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Bernoulli, Nikolaus II

(b. Basel. Switzerland, 6 February 1695; d. St Petersburg. Russia, 31 July 1726)


Nikolaus was the favorite son of Johann I, whose mediation made it possible for him to enter the University of Basel at the age of thirteen. There he passed the master’s examinations at sixteen, and in 1715 he became a licentiate in jurisprudence (1). Nikolaus assisted his father with his correspondence, particularly in the priority quarrel between Leibnizand Newton, during which he drafted the reply to Taylor (6) and supplied valuable contributions to the problem of trajectories (2–4). With his brother Daniel he traveled in France and Italy, where both received and accepted appointments to the St. Petersburg Academy. Within the year, however, he contracted and died of a hectic fever.


Nikolaus’ writings are (1) Dissertatio de jure detractionis (Basel, 1715); (2) “Solutio problematis invenire lineam, quae ad angulos rectos secet omnes hyperbolas ejusdem verticis et ejusdem centri, in Acta eruditorum (1716), pp. 226–230; (3) “Exercitatio geometrica de trajectoriis orthogonalibus…,” ibid. (1720), pp. 223–237; (4) “Detrajectories curvas ordinatim positione datas ad angulosrectos vel alia lege secantibus,” ibid (1718), pp. 248–262: (5) “Animadversiones in Jac. Hermanni solutionem propriam duorum problematum geometricorum…,” ibid., Supp. 8 (1720), pp. 372–389; (6) “Responsio ad Taylori Angli querelas…” ibid., (1720), pp. 279–285; (7) “Analysis aequationum quarundam differentialium,” in Comment. Acad. Petrop., 1 (1728), 198–207; and (8) “Demotu corporum ex percussione,” ibid., pp. 121–126.

J. O. Fleckenstein