Isaac Newton

Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

On August 18, 1685, EnglishmathematicianBrook Taylor was born. He is best known for Taylor’s theorem and the Taylor series, a method for expanding functions into infinite series. “It is generally thought very ridiculous to pretend to write an Heroic Poem, or a fine Discourse upon any Subject, without understanding the Propriety of the Language wrote in; and to me it seems no less ridiculous for one to pretend to make a good Picture without…
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What is a Mathematical Function – according to Johann Bernoulli

What is a Mathematical Function – according to Johann Bernoulli

On August 6, 1667, Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli was born. He was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is known for his contributions to infinitesimal calculus and educating Leonhard Euler in the pupil’s youth.[1] “I recognize the lion by his claw.” – Johann Bernoulli, after reading an anonymous solution to a problem that he realized was Newton’s solution.[10] Johann Bernoulli and the Early Days of Calculus Johann I…
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James Clerk Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Fields

James Clerk Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Fields

On June 13, 1831, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell was born. His most prominent achievement was formulating a set of equations that united previously unrelated observations, experiments, and equations of electricity, magnetism, and optics into a consistent theory. According to his theory he has demonstrated that electricity, magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon, namely the electromagnetic field. This has been called the “second great unification in physics”, after…
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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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A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

On December 17, 1706, French mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was born. Her major achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton‘s work Principia Mathematica, which still is the standard French translation of Newton‘s work today. Philosopher and author Voltaire, one of her lovers, once declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet…
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The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

On December 6, 1768, the first volume of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published in London as , ‘A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, compiled upon a New Plan‘. The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still being produced today. The history of its 15 editions alone would be subject of an entire book. But although it might be the most popular encyclopaedia ever printed, it was not the…
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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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A Wire to Connect the World – Stephen Gray’s Discovery

A Wire to Connect the World – Stephen Gray’s Discovery

Today for us it’s pretty normal that electricity can be transmitted on a wire, because it’s part of our daily life. But, in the early 18th century, when the English nature-scientist Stephen Gray was able to show that electricity really can be transmitted on a string of copper, it was an unheard-of revelation. Stephen Gray Background Stephen Gray was born in Canterbury, Kent, the son of the dyer Mathias Gray, baptized on…
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Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

On June 27, 1806, British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan was born. He formulated De Morgan‘s laws and introduced the term mathematical induction, a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish a given statement for all natural numbers. As a computer scientist, I am of course familiar with De Morgan‘s laws, which are fundamental for Boolean logic. De Morgan‘s laws are merely transformation rules for two of the basic operators…
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John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

On March 4, 1675, the English King Charles II appoints John Flamsteed to “The King’s Astronomical Observator” – the first English Astronomer Royal, with an allowance of £100 a year. In the same year, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was founded and Flamsteed laid the foundation stone. Youth and Education John Flamsteed was born the only son of the merchant Stephen Flamsteed and his first wife Mary Spadman from Denby in the county…
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