Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
When Leibniz published his paper on calculus in 1684 and didn't even mention Newton a schism in science opened that would not heal for some 140 years.
It is probably impossible to overestimate the importance to science of differential and integral calculus. It is now generally accepted that Newton and Leibniz discovered it independently of each other, Newton first formulating his methods around 1665.
But when Leibniz, a German civil servant, published his work in 1684 and didn't even mention the name of the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, who had helped him in letters on more than one occasion, blood boiled in the lounges of learned societies and on podiums of lecture halls across Europe, and a schism in science opened up that would hold back British science and thinking, and would not heal for some 140 years.
Newton was buried in Westminster Abbey, a national hero. Leibniz, who has since been described as the last universal genius, died a poor failure, with only his former secretary attending his funeral.
- Thu 1 Jul 2004 09:30
- Mon 24 Apr 2006 15:45