Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Born 1646, died 1716

Leibniz is best known for inventing the differential and integral calculus independently of Isaac Newton. The two became life-long enemies and throughout Europe scientists took sides and debated the issue.

Leibniz was also one of the most famous and accomplished philosophers of his time. His doctoral thesis was on De Principio Individui (On the Principle of the Individual), which contained the germ of his idea of 'monad' (unit). He actually used this word as a name for substance. It is interesting to note that Leibniz' idea of 'monad' is similar, but more extensive than the idea of an atom. Leibniz thought that 'monad' is that much different from an atom in so far as it not only represents properties of a present state, but also all properties which it will potentially exhibit in the future, and also all the traces of all the properties it did exhibit in the past.

Find more about some other famous mathematicians here.

You can also see some of them when they were children.

See a page on Newton and a page on his Principia.

This book features also in our list of famous excuses - or how not to do a maths homework and still stay out of trouble with your teacher.


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