Leibniz–Newton Calculus Controversy

Leibniz–Newton Calculus Controversy

The calculus controversy (often referred to with the German term Prioritätsstreit, meaning ‘priority dispute’) was an argument between 17th-century mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz (begun or fomented in part by their disciples and associates – see Development of the quarrel below) over who had first invented calculus. It is a question that had been the cause of a major intellectual controversy over who first discovered calculus, one that began simmering in 1699 and broke out in full force in 1711.

Newton claimed to have begun working on a form of the calculus (which he called "the method of fluxions and fluents") in 1666, at the age of 23, but did not publish it except as a minor annotation in the back of one of his publications decades later. (A relevant Newton manuscript of October 1666 is now published among his mathematical papers.) Gottfried Leibniz began working on his variant of the calculus in 1674, and in 1684 published his first paper employing it. L'Hopital published a text on Leibniz's calculus in 1696 (in which he recognized that Newton's Principia of 1687 was "nearly all about this calculus"). Meanwhile, Newton, though he explained his (geometrical) form of calculus in Section I of Book I of the Principia of 1687, did not explain his eventual fluxional notation for the calculus in print until 1693 (in part) and 1704 (in full).

Read more about Leibniz–Newton Calculus ControversyThe Quarrel, Development of The Quarrel, References in Fiction

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