Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today in mathematics

Thanks to loyal reader Kevin for bringing this to my attention:
Leibniz is credited, along with Sir Isaac Newton, with the discovery of infinitesimal calculus. According to Leibniz's notebooks, a critical breakthrough occurred on 11 November 1675, when he employed integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of a function y = ƒ(x). He introduced several notations used to this day, for instance the integral sign ∫ representing an elongated S, from the Latin word summa and the d used for differentials, from the Latin word differentia. This ingenious and suggestive notation for the calculus is probably his most enduring mathematical legacy. Leibniz did not publish anything about his calculus until 1684. The product rule of differential calculus is still called "Leibniz's law". In addition, the theorem that tells how and when to differentiate under the integral sign is called the Leibniz integral rule.
[Wikipedia entry, Gottfried Leibniz; emphasis added]

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