Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: The Polymath Who Brought Us Calculus focuses on the life and accomplishments of one of the seventeenth century’s most influential mathematicians and philosophers. The book, which draws on Leibniz’s written works and translations, and reconstructs dialogues Leibniz may have had based on the historical record of his life experiences, portrays Leibniz as both a phenomenal genius and a real person.
Suitable for middle school age readers, the book traces Leibniz’s life from his early years as a young boy and student to his later work as a court historian. It discusses the intellectual and social climate in which he fought for his ideas, including his rather contentious relationship with Newton (both claimed to have invented calculus). The text describes how Leibniz developed the first mechanical calculator that could handle addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It also examines his passionate advocacy of rational arguments in all controversial matters, including the law, expressed in his famous exclamation calculemus: let us calculate to see who is right.
Leibniz made groundbreaking contributions to mathematics and philosophy that have shaped our modern views of these fields.
A Brilliant Child
A Student at the Universities of Leipzig and Jena
Dr. Leibniz Begins His Career
Paris, London, and Mathematics
Librarian and Councilor to Duke Johann Friedrich of Hannover
Councilor and Librarian to Duke Ernst August
Writing and Not Writing the History
Court Historian to Elector Georg Ludwig
Alone in Hannover
the reader gets a good impression of Leibniz's life and ideas.
—Charlotte Wahl, Zentralblatt MATH 1234
this book permits us to place in our mind many of Leibniz’s important contributions at the right place and time where they occurred … absolutely indispensable to initiate teenagers … written in a very vivid style, the book under review is very commendable.
—Marcel Guillaume, Mathematical Reviews, 2012h
… fun to read, and the book is instructive. Tent knows what she’s talking about. … A fun book to take on holiday.
—Rudi Penne and Paul Levrie, WeetLogs.SciLogs.be, April 2012
The life of Gottfried Leibniz, philosopher, theologian, mathematician, devisor of mechanical computers—in short, a universal genius—is presented in this work with sympathy and understanding. An informative read for teenagers and beyond.
—Philip J. Davis, coauthor of The Mathematical Experience