Gottfried
Wilhelm
Leibniz was
a philosopher,
mathematician,
physicist,
jurist,
and
contemporary
of Newton.
He
is considered
one of
the great
thinkers
of the
17th
century.
He believed
in a
universe
which
followed
a "pre-established
harmony"
between
mind
and matter,
and attempted
to reconcile
the existence
of a
material
world
with
the existence
of a
supreme
being.
The
twentieth
century
philosopher
and mathematician
Bertrand
Russell
considered
Leibniz's
greatest
claim to
fame to
be his
invention
of the
infinitesimal
calculus
-- a remarkable
achievement
considering
that Leibniz
was self-taught
in mathematics.
**Leibniz
is portrayed** overlaid
with
**integral** notation
from his **calculus** which
he developed
coincident
with but
independently
of Newton's
development
of calculus.
Although
the historical
record
suggest
that Newton
developed
his version
of calculus
first,
Leibniz
was the
first to
publish.
Unfortunately,
what emerged
was not
fruitful
collaboration,
but a rancorous
dispute
that raged
for decades
and pitted
English
continental
mathematicians
supporting
Newton
as the
true inventor
of the
calculus,
against
continental
mathematicians
supporting
Leibniz.
Today,
Leibniz
and Newton
are generally
recognized
as 'co-inventors'
of the
calculus.
But
Leibniz'
notation
for
calculus
was
far superior
to
that of
Newton,
and
it is the
notation
developed
by Leibniz,
including
the
integral
sign
and derivative
notation,
that
is still
in use
today.
Leibniz
considered
symbols
to be critical
for human
understanding
of all
things.
So much so that he
attempted
to develop
an entire
'alphabet
of human
thought',
in which
all fundamental
concepts
would be
represented
by symbols
which could
be combined
to represent
more complex
thoughts.
Leibniz
never finished
this work.
Leibniz,
who had
strong
conceptual
differences
with Newton
in other
areas,
notably
with Newton's
concept
of absolute
space,
also develop
bitter
conceptual
differences
with Descartes
over what
was then
referred
to as the "fundamental
quantity
of motion",
a precursor
of the
Law of
Conservation
of Energy.
Much
of Leibniz'
work went
unpublished
during
his lifetime.
He died
embittered,
in ill
health,
and without
achieving
the considerable
wealth,
fame, and
honor accorded
to Newton.
Leibniz'
diverse
writings
-- philosophical,
mathematical,
historical,
and political
-- were
resurrected
and published
in the
late 19th
and 20th
centuries.
But
calculus
-- with
Leibniz
notation
still in
use today
-- remains
his towering
legacy. |