History of Calculus

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 28 December 2016

History of Calculus

Calculus is an integral part of the mathematics world. Various mathematicians coming from all parts of the world have shaped this theorem but the two main contributors are Sir Isaac Newton and Wilhelm Von Leibniz. The reason they are considered the inventors of Calculus is because they were able to give a unified approach to tangent and area problems unlike the others who used specific methods. Both of these mathematicians developed general concepts Newton was associated with the fluxion and the fluent as for Leibniz, he produced the differential and the integral.

Isaac Newton was a self-taught mathematic student who studied at Trinity College in Cambridge starting in 1661. He shaped his work in optics, celestial mechanics and mathematics, including calculus. His early work consisted of Analysis with Infinite Series in 1669 but his most famous work is the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy published in 1687. Newton only introduced his notions of calculus in detail until the years 1704 to 1736.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German who at first, concentrated on the topics of philosophy and law but was introduced to advanced mathematics during a brief stay at the University of Jena in 1663. He worked on his calculus from 1673 to 1676 and revealed his work on differential calculus in 1684 with the integral calculus in 1686.

There has been much controversy over who deserves the credit for the primary inventor of Calculus. Some say since Newton started his work earlier, Leibniz may have plagiarized some of the work. Others explain that Leibniz worked on his theories alone and published his work before Newton. This rift destroyed Leibniz who left the world with almost no one by his side, while Newton was glorified.

It is important to state that Leibniz concepts were easier to use and that the name of the theorem is due to him. He also created the symbols used for differentiation and integration. Needless to say, it is due to both of their incredible work that millions of people have discovered the complex and interesting world of calculus!


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 28 December 2016

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