In this he showed that a homogeneous fluid mass revolving uniformly round an axis under the action of gravity ought to assume the form of an ellipsoid of revolution.
The cases of greatest practical importance are those of a sphere (which is an ellipsoid with three equal axes) and an ovoid or prolate ellipsoid of revolution.
When the ellipsoid is so much elongated that I is negligible in relation to m'-, the expression approximates to the simpler form N=412 (log 201-I).
Laplace treated the subject from the point of view of the gradual aggregation and cooling of a mass of matter, and demonstrated that the form which such a mass would ultimately assume must be an ellipsoid of revolution whose equator was determined by the primitive plane of maximum areas.
As an application of moving axes, consider the motion of liquid filling the ellipsoidal case 2 y 2 z2 Ti + b1 +- 2 = I; (1) and first suppose the liquid be frozen, and the ellipsoid l3 (4) (I) (6) (9) (I o) (II) (12) (14) = 2 U ¢ 2, (15) rotating about the centre with components of angular velocity, 7 7, f'; then u= - y i +z'i, v = w = -x7 7 +y (2) Now suppose the liquid to be melted, and additional components of angular velocity S21, 522, S23 communicated to the ellipsoidal case; the additional velocity communicated to the liquid will be due to a velocity-function 2224_ - S2 b c 6 a 5 x b2xy, as may be verified by considering one term at a time.