Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was born into an overwhembled Europe on the edge of collapse in 1646. There he would lay the foundations for automated calculations, logical computation, artificial intelligence and binary language. In western thought, Leibniz was grand and impressive, publishing books on law, economics, theology, politics, chemistry, architecture and physics! Nonetheless his work on mathematics and physiology is what made him go down in history.
As a young boy his father, Friedrich Leibniz, died in 1652. This left his uncle and mother to educate him until he was allowed into his father’s giant library where he taught himself latin and knowledge at college level. In 1661, at age 15, Leibniz went to the university of Leipzig to get his first formal education to study science, law and scholastic. After getting his bachelor’s degree Leibniz went to the University of Altdorf to continue his education. Later in life some say Leibniz was offered the greatest opportunity of his life in 1672 when the Elector of Mainz sent him on a mission to Paris. There he would meet the most influential mathematicians in the world at that time! One of them being physicist, Christiaan Huygens who decided to teach young Leibniz about physics, philosophy and mathematics.
As a German, Leibniz was able to see firsthand, the destructive outcome of the “30 Years War” which influenced his work in philosophy. He saw a idealistic vision where all arguments could be broken down into a peaceful solution. From this he invented “calculus ratiocinator” which made parts of an argument or ideas feasible. This led him to try to make a universal language for all to use, consisting of different symbols to represent human thought.

Leibniz was known as the last “universal thinker” because of all the great things he did for the world. For instance he was one of the most productive inventors of mechanical calculators since he first described the pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel for arithmometer. The discovery of calculus is credited to Leibniz and Sir Isaac Newton and the product rule of differential calculus is called “Leibniz’s law” to this day. The list goes on and on about what contributions leibniz had on mathematics that still affect us to this day!
The foundation for modern logic and analytic philosophy is all thanks to Leibniz’s work. He also made huge contributions to physics, technology, and predicted notions that happened much later in medicine, biology, architecture, psychology, linguistics ect! Leibniz died in 1716 and left us a legacy of knowledge that lasts today. We can say for certain that without Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz mathematics would be different for the worse.

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New York University

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