Interesting Facts About Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: A German Mathematician And Philosopher

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (also known as von Leibniz) was a prominent German mathematician, philosopher, physicist and statesman. Noted for his independent invention of the differential and integral calculus, Gottfried Leibniz remains one of the greatest and most influential metaphysicians, thinkers and logicians in history. He also invented the Leibniz wheel and suggested important theories about force, energy and time.
Gottfried Leibniz was born on 1st July 1646 in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany to influential parents. His father, a professor of moral philosophy at the city’s university, died when Leibniz was only six. His mother was the daughter of a rich local lawyer.
Leibniz was a childhood prodigy. He became fluent in Latin and studied works of Greeks scholars when he was only twelve. He entered the University of Leipzig when he was fourteen, where he took philosophy, mathematics and law.
After graduation, he applied for a doctorate in law, but was refused due to his young age. Leibniz chose to present his thesis to the University of Altdorf, where professors were so impressed that they immediately awarded him the degree of Doctor of Laws and gave him a professorship.
Let’s now look at EIGHT interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz:
1. After his father’s untimely death when Leibniz was only six, he inherited his father’s extensive library and derived the basis for much of his philosophical reasoning from this reading material.
2. He began teaching himself the higher concepts in mathematics and science, and kept up a friendship with Nicolas Malebranche and Antoine Arnauld, the leading French philosophers of the day.
3. Probably his greatest achievement was the discovery of a new mathematical method called calculus. Scientists use to deal with quantities that are constantly varying. Newton had devised a similar method for his work on gravity. Therefore, there was a harsh debate about who had been first.
Newton began working on his version in 1665, but Leibniz published his results in 1684, almost three years before Newton. However, the consensus is that they discovered the method simultaneously.
4. The work of Leibniz anticipated modern logic and analytic philosophy, but his philosophy also looks back to the scholastic tradition, in which conclusions are produced by applying reason to first principles or prior definitions rather than to empirical evidence.
5. By the time Leibniz was old enough to attend his first year of college, he was perhaps more educated and knowledgeable than even his most advanced fellow students. He entered university study at the age of 15, and by age 17, he had earned his master’s degree in philosophy. He earned his bachelor’s degree in law in 1666 at age 20.
6. While working as a diplomat again in England, he met with the Royal Society to demonstrate his calculating machine, which he’d begun creating in 1670.
His calculator easily functioned with the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), for which the Royal Society made him a member.
7. He went on to become one of the most productive inventors of mechanical calculators, inventing both the pinwheel calculator and the Leibniz wheel.
The Leibniz wheel was used in the arithmometer, which was the first real, mass-produced mechanical calculator.
8. Leibniz’s contributions to the massive spectrum of scientific fields which he contributed to came from the tens of thousands of letters and unpublished works he penned, typically in Latin, French, and German, but also in several other languages.

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