Leibniz: The Father of Modern Calculus

1212 Words5 Pages
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is an important figure in the history of philosophy and mathematics. Although his work was not fully appreciated during his day, he did much to advance the "thinking" on a variety of subjects. His fame was scarred by the infamous controversy with Isaac Newton on the subject of the discoverer of calculus. Leibniz's work encompassed a wide scope, ranging from philosopy to politics to mechanics and mathematics, but his most noteworthy accomplishment was the discovery of differential calculus and its highly efficient notation. Leibniz was born July 1, 1646 in Leipzig, Germany into a family of renowned scholars. His father, Friedrich Leibniz, was a professor of philosophy at the University of Leipzig. By the age of seven, Leibniz was self-taught in Greek and Latin and "was something of a prodigy" (Meyer 2). During this time, he was taught Aristotle's logic and sought to improve it. These ideas became the foundation of his mathematical proofs. "In later life Leibniz recalled that at this time he was trying to find orderings on logical truths which?were the ideas behind rigorous mathematical proofs" (O'Connor and Robertson). At the age of 15, Leibniz attended the University of Leipzig, and at 17, he left to Jena to study law over the summer. He submitted a legal thesis for a doctor's degree at age 20 to the University of Leipzig but was rejected (Broad 1). Leibniz was quite accomplished in many fields other than philosophy and mathematics. He was greatly interested in poems. "Although Leibniz's interests were clearly developing in a scientific direction, he still hankered after a literary career. All his life he prided himself on his poetry ?, and boasted t... ... middle of paper ... ...s itemque Tangentibus printed in his journal: Acta Eruditorium. Leibniz interpreted as the area under a curve. When this was published, Jacob Bernoulli was the first to refer to this as "Integral Calculus." Lastly, Leibniz formulated his own fundamental theorem. It states that "one can find a curve z such that by using the equation: (Carr 62). Clearly, Leibniz's form of calculus paved the way to modern calculus. During his waning years, Leibniz was quickly forgotten. On November 14, 1716, Leibniz passed away in Hannover, Germany. Sadly, only one person was recorded that attended his funeral: his secretary. While Newton, a world-renown scientist, was knighted by the Queen, Leibniz did not achieve the fame that he deserved. He was best known as a philosopher, but he also advanced the world's knowledge significantly in the form of calculus.

More about Leibniz: The Father of Modern Calculus

Open Document