Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

John Wilkins and the Universal Language

John Wilkins and the Universal Language

On February 14, 1614, Anglican clergyman, natural philosopher and author John Wilkins was born. Wilkins was one of the founders of the Royal Society and a polymath, although not one of the most important scientific innovators of the period. He is particularly known for An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668) in which, amongst other things, he proposed a universal language and a decimal system of measures which…
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God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

On December 7, 1823, German mathematician Leopold Kronecker was born, who worked on number theory and algebra. He criticized Cantor’s work on set theory, and his most cited quote says, “Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk” (traditionally rendered: “God made natural numbers; all else is the work of man“.) Leopold Kronecker was born in Liegnitz, Prussia (now Legnica, Poland) in a wealthy Jewish family to Isidor and Johanna…
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Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

Brook Taylor (1685–1731) On August 18, 1685, English mathematician Brook Taylor was born. He is best known for Taylor’s theorem and the Taylor series, a method for expanding functions into infinite series. Brook Taylor was born in Edmonton to John Taylor of Bifrons House, Kent, and Olivia Tempest in 1685. It was the year when King Charles II passed away and his Roman Catholic brother succeeded him as King James II of England, the…
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Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Desargues (1591-1661) Mural Painting by Théobald Chartran at the Sorbonne Paris (c. 1885) On February 21, 1591, French mathematician and engineer Girard Desargues was born. Desargues is considered one of the founders of projective geometry. Desargues’ theorem, the Desargues graph, and the crater Desargues on the Moon are named in his honour. In his later years, he designed an elaborate spiral staircase, and an ingenious new form of pump, but the most…
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Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

On February 12, 1804, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. He is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world and its laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. The problem…
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Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

On November 11, 1675, German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x). Integral calculus is part of infinitesimal calculus, which in addition also comprises differential calculus. In general, infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding tangent lines to curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. Today, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz…
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Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) On July 7, 1752, French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard was born. He is best known for his invention of the programmable loom, the “Jacquard loom”, which in turn played an important role in the development of the computer. Back in the 18th century, literally nobody – maybe with the exception people like Leibniz or Pascal – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the time, the…
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How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

Jakob Bernoulli (1655-1705) on a Swiss stamp The Swiss Bernoulli family is well known for their many offsprings who gained prominent merits in mathematics and physics in the 18th century. Jakob Bernoulli, born in 1654 (or 1655 according to the new Gregorian calendar), is best known for his work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture). In this work, published 8 years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas, Jakob Bernoulli described the…
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It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

Alonzo Church (1903-1995) @ University of Berkeley You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with any other…
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Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646 – 1716) On July 1, 1646, one of the last universally interdisciplinary academics, active in the fields of mathematics, physics, history, politics, philosophy, and librarianship was born. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz counts as one of the most influential scientists of the late 17th and early 18th century and impersonates a meaningful representative of the Age of Enlightenment. Leibniz made up his interests concerning philosophy and law studies in his…
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