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Waldo, found…

©2009 ~sfumato21

(via Daily What)

As we call off the dogs, we might recall that it was reputedly on this date in 1675 that Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz first used the “long s” as the integral symbol in calculus:

It was understood to be Leibnitz’s co-option of the Latin “summa.”

When Newton and Leibniz first published their versions of calculus (in the late 1680s), there was tremendous controversy over which mathematician (and therefore which country, England or Germany) deserved credit.  Newton derived his results first, but Leibniz published first.  The prickly Newton claimed Leibniz had stolen ideas from Newton’s unpublished notes, which Newton had shared with a few members of the Royal Society; a bitter argument ensued, dividing English-speaking mathematicians from continental mathematicians for many years– much to the detriment of English mathematics.   A careful examination of the papers of Leibniz and Newton has convinced scholars that the two arrived at their results independently, with Leibniz starting with integration; and Newton, with differentiation.  It was the symbolically-gifted Leibniz, however, who gave this new branch of mathematics its name.  Newton called his version of calculus the “the science of fluxions”…  One shudders to imagine that on one’s textbook (or in the mouths of schoolchildren…)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 26, 2009 at 12:01 am

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