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e: The Story of a Number by Eli Maor

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5

Forefathers of the Calculus

If I have seen further [than you and Descartes],it is by standing upon the shoulders of Giants.—SIR ISAAC NEWTON to Robert Hooke

Great inventions generally fall into one of two categories: some are the product of a single person’s creative mind, descending on the world suddenly like a bolt out of the blue; others—by far the larger group—are the end product of a long evolution of ideas that have fermented in many minds over decades, if not centuries. The invention of logarithms belongs to the first group, that of the calculus to the second.

It is usually said that the calculus was invented by Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) during the decade 1665–1675, but this is not entirely accurate. ...

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