Academic journal article Australian Mathematics Teacher

The Invention of Calculus

Academic journal article Australian Mathematics Teacher

The Invention of Calculus

Article excerpt

Perhaps the most significant mathematical invention of the 17th century was calculus--the mathematics of change and motion. It revolutionised science and has extensive applications in many other areas such as in engineering and in economics. Calculus depends on the concept of infinity and what happens as certain distances and areas get closer and closer to zero.

Calculus was developed independently by the English mathematician and physicist, Isaac Newton (1642 -1727), and the German mathematician and philosopher, Gottfried Leibniz (1646 -1716). Newton is regarded as erne of history's most influential people. His book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, laid the groundwork for most of classical mechanics. He was the Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, a position held in the 20th century thy' Stephen Hawking. Newton spent the latter part of his life as warden of the Royal Mint. He was knighted in 1705.

Leibniz was a polymath who corresponded with over 600 scholars including Christian missionaries posted to China. …

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