The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time

Jason Socrates Bardi, Author . Thunder's Mouth $25 (277p) ISBN 978-1-56025-706-6

Those interested in a lucid, nontechnical account of the battle between Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) over who invented calculus will welcome science writer and debut author Bardi's cautionary tale. As early as 1665, Newton composed a manuscript detailing his method of calculus with examples, but after his unpleasant experience with a 1672 paper on optics that aroused the ire of Robert Hooke, an eminent member of the Royal Society who accused the younger man of plagiarism, Newton became shy of publishing. Between 1672 and 1676, Leibniz independently discovered calculus, using notation that has since become standard. When Leibniz published his results, Newton's allies rushed to discredit Leibniz in what developed, in Bardi's words, into "the greatest intellectual property debate of all time." While a few personal asides might better have been put in the preface, Bardi provides a timeless lesson about human pride as he describes the series of misunderstandings and miscommunications that led to the clash between these two great minds, "perhaps the greatest of their day." Illus. not seen by PW . (May 10)

Reviewed on: 03/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-1-56025-992-3
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-7867-3364-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-84344-036-9
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