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The History of Calculus

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An article written by Simon Harding and Paul Scott titled “The History of Calculus” explains the very beginnings and evolutions of calculus. Harding and Scott begin their article by explaining how important calculus is to almost every field, claiming that “…in any field you could name, calculus… can be found,” (Harding, 1976). I agree with this statement completely, and can even support it with examples of its uses in various fields like engineering, medicine, management, and retail. All of these utilize calculus in some way, shape, or form, even if it is a minute.
The authors of this article also pose a few questions at the end of their introduction, regarding the “who what and when’s” of the founding of calculus. In an attempt to satisfy their questions, Harding and Scott take look at the history of the famous philosopher, and one of the founders of calculus, Archimedes.
The subsection about Archimedes describes Ancient Greece, and how countless citizens of the area yearned to know how their world functioned. They depended on mathematicians and philosophers to inform them of the structure of the universe. One of the most renowned philosophers of the time, Archimedes of Susa, became one of the forefathers of calculus with his method of finding the area of shapes that were previously impossible to figure (Harding, 1976). Harding and Scott focused mainly on this method of Archimedes, which was known as the “method of exhaustion,” (Harding, 1976). By his method, Archimedes could calculate the areas of formerly impossible figures by using infinitely smaller, possible shapes within the impossible one. An example that the authors claim to be extremely well-known was his approximation of the area of a circle using tangent lines and po...

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...nd their words came across in a manner and language that someone who did not understand the subject would understand. They answered the questions that they asked the audience in the introduction in great detail, but without becoming overbearing. I learned much about the mathematic society during different eras, including the struggle between Leibniz and Newton, and the method Archimedes used when he helped form calculus. The only two negatives I have seen in the article are the large leap from 225 B.C. to the fifteenth century, & from the late fifteenth century to the late twentieth century, and the abrupt end.

Works Cited

Harding, S., Scott, P. (1976). General format. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ714743.pdf.

Mastin, L. (2010). 18th Century Mathematics. The Story of Mathematics. Retrieved from http://www.storyofmathematics.com/18th.html.
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