History of Calculus Essay

1186 Words Mar 17th, 2008 5 Pages
History of Calculus

The history of calculus falls into several distinct time periods, most notably the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The ancient period introduced some of the ideas of integral calculus, but does not seem to have developed these ideas in a rigorous or systematic way. Calculating volumes and areas, the basic function of integral calculus, can be traced back to the Egyptian Moscow papyrus (c. 1800 BC), in which an Egyptian successfully calculated the volume of a pyramidal frustum.[1][2] From the school of Greek mathematics, Eudoxus (c. 408−355 BC) used the method of exhaustion, which prefigures the concept of the limit, to calculate areas and volumes while Archimedes (c. 287−212 BC) developed this idea
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In Europe, the second half of the 17th century was a time of major innovation. Calculus provided a new opportunity in mathematical physics to solve long-standing problems. Several mathematicians contributed to these breakthroughs, notably John Wallis and Isaac Barrow. James Gregory proved a special case of the second fundamental theorem of calculus in AD 1668.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was originally accused of plagiarism of Sir Isaac Newton's unpublished works, but is now regarded as an independent inventor and contributor towards calculus.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was originally accused of plagiarism of Sir Isaac Newton's unpublished works, but is now regarded as an independent inventor and contributor towards calculus.

Leibniz and Newton pulled these ideas together into a coherent whole and they are usually credited with the independent and nearly simultaneous invention of calculus. Newton was the first to apply calculus to general physics and Leibniz developed much of the notation used in calculus today; he often spent days determining appropriate symbols for concepts. The basic insight that both Newton and Leibniz had was the fundamental theorem of calculus.

When Newton and Leibniz first published their results, there was great

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