The Discovery of the Calculus:
The Battle Between Wilhelm Leibniz and Isaac Newton
A play by
H. W. Straley, Charlene B. Straley and F. A. "Chip" Straley
Background
The time is the middle of the 17th century. England convulses in
revolution as Cromwell defeats the armies of King Charles I. The
Treaty of Westphalia brings peace to Europe ending the Thirty Years
War. Europeans, tired of fighting between Protestant and Catholic,
simply want peace. Germany is poor and divided and without a
central government. Each of the major city states tries to look
after itself. The French King, Louis XIV, sees an opportunity to
exert his influence in Germany and uses his armies to conquer disputed
territories.
Fermat, Galileo, Kepler and others make significant discoveries in
mathematics and science. Because of their discoveries, computation
and mathematics take on greater importance. The need to compute
rapidly and accurately is fast becoming a necessary tool of the
scientist.
Calculus is the study of change and area. Newton referred to finding
change as a fluxion and area as a fluent. Leibniz used the term
derivative when finding change and integral when finding area. Prior
to Leibniz and Newton mathematicians had developed methods for finding
derivatives and integrals. However, no one had realized that these
two phenomena are inversely related. This inverse relationship was
discovered by our combatants and opened the door to most scientific
advancements, including the walk on the moon.
Academic reputation was not earned as it is today by publishing
discoveries in refereed journals. Reputation was earned by convincing
Royalty that you were worth their patronage. In order to protect
intellectual discoveries, it was common to write to a third party
concealing the discovery in an anagram (secret code). Newton and
Leibniz never met, but they did correspond via two intermediaries John
Collins, Secretary of the Royal Society, and Henry Oldenburg. The
intermediaries would edit the letters, have them copied and then
forwarded to the addressee. On some occasions ideas that would later
be very important were not included in the forwarded copy. The letters
often contained anagrams, as we shall see.
Wars are generally fought between governments, but our story is
different. Our war is a virulent conflict between two of the greatest
minds that ever lived. It begins in the middle of the 17th century and
does not actually end till well after the American Revolution, almost
150 years later.
Historical dramatizations traverse a narrow path between two ravines.
On one side is historical accuracy, while on the other is dramatic
interest. We [The creators of this presentation] have tried to blend
accuracy and drama in our [this] interpretation of the confrontation
between Leibniz and Newton.
HWS, CBS, FAS
This play was written with financial support from the Woodberry Forest
School Faculty Incentive Grant. Persons desiring information regarding
the play should contact H.W. Straley, Mathematics Department, Woodberry
Forest School, Woodberry Forest, VA 22989, (540) 672-6049,
fax (540) 672-0928 or email: hw_straley@woodberry.org
Newton to Cambridge (scene 1)
1) slide of Newton (David Smith Collection, Saunders)
N I am Isaac Newton. I discovered the calculus!
2) slide of Leibniz (David Smith Collection, Saunders)
L I am Wilhelm Leibniz. I discovered the calculus!
3) slide of Woolsthorpe bed (hws, front view)
N I was born six weeks premature in this bed at Woolsthorpe on
Christmas day, 1642.
M Isaac was so small that he fit in the midwife's hand.
N My father died two months before I was born. My father could
not read; he was a yeoman, a person of no significance. Oh! how I
missed my father!
4) slide of Woolsthorpe (hws, front view)
M Isaac.
N Yes, mother.
5) slide of Smiths' Church (hws)
M You are my three year old man. Today I marry Reverend Smith
and move into his rectory. You will stay here. I love you! Bye.
N Why did my mother leave me? Doesn't she want me! I'm ten years
old and I seldom see my mother. I want her to hold me!
M Isaac.
N Yes, mother.
6) slide of Woolsthorpe (hws, interior view)
M Your beloved stepfather died. I return to Woolsthorpe with
your half sisters and brother. Aren't you excited!
N Yes, mother.
M Isaac! You are now 12 years old. It is time for you to
attend Kings grammar school. You must learn to run this farm.
7) slide of KGS (hws, interior yard and wall)
N Yes mother. ... My only school friends were girls for whom
I made paper toys. I lived with the local apothecary who allowed
me to use his library and to experiment with his chemicals.
School subjects are dull and boring, but the apothecary's books
were intriguing.
8) slide of boys fighting (Rankin cartoon)
M Newton, you stupid sissy! Playing with girls! I dare you
to meet me behind the horse barn after school!
N I don't want to fight you; leave me alone!
M Sissy! Stupid sissy!
N He won't leave me alone if I don't fight.
M OK Isaac, I give up, don't put my face in the horse manure.
Oh! Stop! Let me up!
9) slide of "Newton" on wall at KGS (hws)
N Call me stupid! I'll show you; I'll show everyone. I'll be
top of the class and still make toys for the girls! I will also
leave my name on the school wall for all to see.
M Isaac.
N Yes, Mother (said in deference to his mother)
M You have had enough school; it is time you learned to run
the farm.
10) slide of Woolsthorpe (hws, left side and front view)
N I'm more interested in learning.
M Never mind, ... you've learned enough, time to work.
N Yes, mother.
M Isaac, Go tend the sheep.
N Yes, mother. (N is watching the sheep, then begins to
build a paper toy)
11) slide of cartoon with Judge (Rankin, cartoon)
M Isaac! When will you learn to pay attention? The sheep
ate the neighbor's corn. I must pay 3 shillings because of
you. ... Isaac.
N Yes, mother.
M Go to town with the servant James and purchase supplies
(they leave)
N James.
M Yes, Master Isaac.
N We are out of sight of the house. Here is 10 pence. Drop me
off and pick me up on your return. I'm in no hurry. (takes out a
book to read or a paper toy to play with)
12) slide of Trinity College (commercial slide of front interior yard)
M Isaac, the Headmaster thinks you should go to Trinity College.
You do not know how to work, so you'll be a student.
N Thank you, mother.
M Isaac, you'll be a sizar. You will be a student, but you will
also be manservant to another student. You will dress him, clean his
clothes, empty his bed pan, ... I refuse to pay good money to educate
a lazy boy.
N Yes, mother.
N (to himself) I wish I had burned her and my stepfather and
watched the hot embers fall on their bodies.
Leibniz to Paris (scene 2)
13) slide of Leibniz's birth home (hws, doorway view)
L I was born here in Leipzig in 1646. My father was Professor
of Moral Philosophy at the University and a distinguished notary.
My mother was a Christian woman. Father, I do love to read the bible
with you here in the library.
14) slide of Leipzig (hws)
Why did God take my father? I was only six years old.
M Wilhelm.
L Yes, mother.
M I have a gift for you. A gift from your late father.
Open it, Wilhelm.
L (opens gift) It's a key! What does it open?
M It opens your father's library. He wanted you to read all
the books you desired.
L What a wonderful gift! I do love to read and to learn.
15) slide of University of Leipzig (hws)
M I'm so proud of you! You entered the University of Leipzig at
fifteen and within two years received your bachelor's degree!
L Learning is a great joy.
M Leibniz, did you know that we have an Alchemy Club at the
university?
L Alchemy. Ah, I know nothing of alchemy! I wonder if I can
convince the club's president that I'm an expert. Lets see, I'll
send him a letter ful1 of double-talk.
M A letter from Wilhelm Leibniz applying for membership in our
Alchemy Club. Hmm! He certainly understands Alchemy. He would be
a marvelous addition. Perhaps he'll serve as club secretary?
16) slide of Newton (David Smith Collection, Saunders)
M At this time an unknown Cambridge student, Isaac Newton, is
discovering the calculus.
17) slide of Leibniz (David Smith Collection, Saunders)
L Dear God, Dear God, Why have you forsaken me. I earn my
masters at 18. Nine days later, you take my mother, just like you
took my father. Who will guide me now?
18) slide of Pascal's Triangle (hws)
M One year after Pascal published his famous triangle, Leibniz
independently discovered and published it as his own.
L Permutations, Combinations! What fascinating subjects. Ah!
I can use them to show that God does exist.
M The students and professors at the University of Leipzig were
so envious of Leibniz that he was denied admission to the doctoral
program. Wilhelm Leibniz enrolled at Altdorf University near
Nurnburg in 1666.
19) slide of Altdorf University (hws, interior view)
M Congratulations Dr. (with emphasis) Leibniz. We would like
you stay at Altdorf as a Chaired Professor.
L A Chaired Professor! That is a great honor. (L considers
offer) I think I'll take a few years off and travel throughout
Europe. There is much I want to see.
20) slide of Mainz (commercial slide)
M Dr. Leibniz.
L Yes, your most honored Elector.
M Herr Boineburg, my Secretary of State, and I have enjoyed
your visit here in Mainz. We need men of your caliber in our
government. Please serve me as a Royal Councilor.
21) slide of Leibniz 3 (hws, statue)
L (ponders the offer) I would be honored, sir.
M Wilhelm.
L Yes Secretary Boineburg.
M Your ideas to resolve Polish succession were excellent.
You are a natural diplomat. You understand the art of
misinformation and double speak.
22) slide of Leibniz statue (hws, base 1)
M Your paper urging that we adopt German as our official
language instead of Latin is meeting with agreement. How do you
think of so many excellent ideas in so many different fields?
23) slide of Leibniz statue (hws, base 2)
L Secretary Boineburg, as you know, Louis XIVth is capturing
territories that belong to Mainz. I have a plan to save our
territories.
M Excellent! What is it?
24) slide of Leibniz statue (hws, base 3)
L Suppose we were to convince Louis that it was France's
Christian Duty to reactivate the Crusades and invade Egypt. France
would not have the resources to continue her aggression toward Mainz.
25) slide of Leibniz statue (hws, base 4)
M Ah! An excellent idea! Ha, ha! I have taught you well.
Ha, ha! Proceed to Paris as soon as possible.
L Yes, sir. I'll arrive in the spring of 1672.
Newton from Cambridge to London (scene 3)
(L changes wigs)
26) slide of Newton (hws, front view of mannequin)
M Newton arrived at Cambridge in 1661.
27) slide of Trinity College (commercial slide of back
interior yard)
N Trinity is wonderful. The teachers leave me alone, so I
can study what I want. The students also leave me alone. Ideas
are much better friends than people. Mathematics is my most
intimate friend. I must continue to write all that I learn in my
notebooks. They are my solace, my fraternity.
M In just 18 months Isaac Newton taught himself all of
modern mathematics.
28) slide of Euclid's Elements (Eves)
N Euclid's Elements, what a trivial book! His theorems are
obvious! Ah Euclid, you are not as clever as I! (pause) Oh! I
have my comprehensive exams tomorrow. I must study their
curriculum tonight. Then, I can return to my important studies.
29) slide of Apple Tree at Woolsthorpe (hws)
M In 1664 the Plague closed Cambridge, and Isaac Newton
returned to Woolsthorpe and the mythical apple tree.
30) slide of Change and Area (hws)
N Change, how does one use mathematics to represent change?
Velocity? Acceleration? Distance? Ah!!! Yes!!! Fluxions and
fluents are inversely related!! I have discovered the calculus!!!
M Isaac Newton discovered the calculus, but no one knew it.
Newton refused to share his monumental discovery.
31) slide re Light (cartoon, Rankin)
N Light. I wonder? I wonder? Do objects have color, or
is color part of light? I'll let some light rays pass through
this prism. I wonder? Light contains colors! (said with conviction)
32) slide of N's Eye Stick (cartoon, Rankin)
M Newton even experimented on himself. He cut a stick, the
size of a toothpick, and inserted it.
N Suppose I put this stick behind my eye and move it. Would
the colors change?
33) slide of Trinity College Chapel (hws, interior shot)
M Newton returned to Cambridge in 1666. In 1669 he sent to a
few acquaintances his famous letter De Analysis in which he briefly
outlined the calculus among many other topics. Two years later he
wrote another letter De Methodis, containing a more extensive review
of the calculus.
34) slide of Isaac Barrow (Eves)
N Professor Barrow.
M Yes, Mr. Newton.
N I understand you are retiring as Lucasian Professor.
M Yes, Isaac. I'm recommending you for the position.
N Me!
35) slide re Trinity/Arius/Alexandria Struggle (Anglican Digest)
N Dear Diary: If I take this position I must be ordained,
in their Church. But, the more I study the Heresy Struggle, the
more I think Arius was right. Jesus was the son of God, but not
God. This is heresy! They will not let me stay at Cambridge, much
less allow me to become Lucasian Professor. What do I do, diary?
What do I do? ...
M Be true to me, your father, my son.
N I will be true to my father, my God, not theirs. ...
Dr. Barrow, Mr. Babbington, thank you for convincing King Charles
not to require ordination for the Lucasian Professor. Now, I can
accept the position devoid of hypocrisy.
36) slide of Newton (hws, side view of mannequin)
N John, John Wickins! It is good of you to come to dinner.
Oh, I'm glad you have brought friends. Please sit down and I'll
get some wine. (goes into a trance, thinking and writing notes)
M Isaac. Isaac! Isaac!! Oh, I'm afraid our host has
forgotten us. He seems to be working on a problem. He will not eat
or rest until it is resolved. We might as well eat without him.
Mr. Newton will not join us. Would you care for wine?
37) slide of Robert Hooke (cartoon, Rankin)
N Secretary Collins tells me my letter on Optics is well received
by the Royal Society. I had nothing to fear publishing my work.
Perhaps I should publish De Analysis and De Methodis. Ah, a letter
from the distinguished authority on light, Robert Hooke. (starts
to read letter)
M You have no understanding of light. You misrepresent my
ideas and claim them for your own. You are an impostor!
N (looks up from letter) I'll not argue with lesser men. As long
as Hooke is alive I'll simply not publish. I love my ideas and will
keep them to myself, just as I keep my thoughts on the Trinity to myself.
38) slide of Leibniz (hws, with black wig)
M Unknown to Newton, Wilhelm Leibniz discovers the calculus in
October 1675. Leibniz creates the notation we use today. Isaac
Newton is no longer alone at the top of Mount Calculus. He has a
challenger.
N June l676. Dear Mr. Leibniz, Secretary Collins insists I share
with you some of my mathematical discoveries.
L A letter from Isaac Newton. This is the first letter I have
received from him. There is nothing here but results. No derivations.
I can get this information most anywhere. Newton is knowledgeable; he
knows more than he is divulging. He may have discovered my calculus?
I must reply immediately!
M Leibniz mailed his reply three days later.
39) slide of pi = 4(1-1/3 + 1/5 - 1/7......) (hws)
L My Dear Esteemed Mr. Newton, You have done great honor by
replying to my humble requests. I have discovered a series for
pi (points to slide). I have a method for finding the area under
any curve. I'll share more upon receipt of your reply. Your
ardent admirer ... I refuse to give him all my discoveries.
N That German took six weeks to reply to my letter. Could he be
stealing my calculus?
M Newton sent the second letter via Oldenburg in October, 1676.
Leibniz receives it eight months later.
40) slide of James Gregory's series (hws)
N Dear Mr. Leibniz, Thank you for your letter. Your series for
pi was discovered some years ago by James Gregory. Years ago I discovered
a method "to find the fluxion of any given equation involving any fluent
quantity whatever and vice versa". These methods are concealed in the
following anagram. (points to anagram)
41) slide of Anagram la (hws)
Let him figure that out.
L (reads letter) Newton's fluxions and fluents, could they be the
same as my derivatives and integrals? ... This anagram is impossible.
"My Dear Esteemed Mr. Newton, You do me great honor by replying to my
letter. We are working on some of the same ideas. I enjoyed your
anagram; try mine!
N Leibniz may have stolen my fluxions and fluents. I should
publish. No, Hooke, damn his soul, is still alive. I must wait.
42) slide of Woolsthorpe bed (hws, side view)
M Isaac.
N Yes Mother. (said with some concern)
M I'm ill.
N Mother, I'm here. Let me put cool water on your brow. ...
She is dead. ... Did my mother love me? Perhaps she married
Reverend Smith for my benefit.
43) slide of Leibniz (hws, portrait with formal clothing)
M In 1684 Wilhelm Leibniz published the very first paper on calculus.
Isaac Newton's fluxions and fluents are now called derivatives and
integrals, and Leibniz receives the credit.
N He published my fluxions and my fluents. My discoveries!
That dy/dx notation is absurd! Why devote so much attention to
notation? Ideas are most critical.
M In 1686 Leibniz published yet another article on the calculus.
44) slide of The Principia (Saunders)
N Once I derive my physics using calculus, I'll rewrite the
derivations using geometry. That will avoid controversy when I
publish The Principia.
M In 1687 Isaac Newton published the most significant scientific
book ever written, The Principia. Its wide acceptance brought him
fame and acclaim as England's and the world's leading scientist. As
a result, Newton became much more assertive.
45) slide of King James (Hatton)
N Our Catholic King James wants us to grant a degree to a
Catholic monk. Cambridge is an Anglican institution. We must
stand firm against Catholicism.
46) slide of William and Mary (Hatton)
M In late 1688 William's armies landed in England, and James fled.
47) slide of Parliament (commercial slide)
N Elect me to Parliament and help defeat the Catholics. ...
I like London and Parliament!. Most of all, I enjoy being courted
by the powerful! I need a position with power, in London.
48) slide of Fatio de Duillier 1 (Westfall)
Ah, my friend Fatio. I need a favor.
M 1691. Dear Mr. Huygens, It is my duty to inform you that my
most intimate friend Isaac Newton clearly discovered the calculus
prior to any pretenders. Those who claim priority have copied from the
master. Fatio de Duillier
(the above line is also meant to imply that there might have been a
homosexual liaison between N and Fatio)
49) slide of Newton (hws, full view of statue)
N I have completed a paper on using my fluents to find the area
under a curve. Should I publish it? I'll wait.
50) slide of Locke (cartoon with Locke & letter to Locke, Rankin)
1693 Dear Mr. John Locke, You have tried to embroil me with women!
Better if you were dead!!
51) slide of Samuel Pepys (cartoon w words, Rankin)
1693 Dear Mr. Samuel Pepys (Peeps), I must inform you of voices.
I hear voices. They tell I'm a reincarnation of ... (sounds insane)
M Newton's nervous breakdown lasted several months. Upon
recovery he increased his efforts to obtain a position in London.
In 1695 Isaac Newton was appointed Master of the Mint. Some historians
think the acceptance of The Principia, the breakdown, and the move to
London combined to dramatically alter Newton's personality.
Leibniz from Paris to London 1699 (scene 4)
(N changes into gray wig)
52) slide of Leibniz (professional slide, L in black wig)
L Paris, what a stimulating city. I must convince Louis to
invade Egypt.
53) slide of Christiaan Huygens (Eves)
M Soon after arriving in Paris, Leibniz met Christiaan Huygens,
who introduced Leibniz to modern mathematics.
L Mathematics is the most powerful subject. I must learn more.
M Mr. Leibniz.
L Yes, Mr. Ambassador.
M I want you to be part of Mainz's diplomatic mission to London.
L Yes, sir.
54) slide of Calculator (Univ. of Hanover)
"It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in
calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines
were used." For this reason I have invented a calculator that takes
square roots. When in London I'll demonstrate it for the Royal Society.
M Mr. Leibniz, it is unfortunate the wooden model of your calculator
did not perform well. Perhaps you will demonstrate it again when you
have perfected it.
L My meeting with the Royal Society went poorly. My wooden calculator
didn't work, and I showed my ignorance of modern mathematics. I must
learn more.
M Mr. Leibniz, we at the Paris Academy appreciate your marvelous calculator.
55) slide of derivative dy/dx integral (hws)
L Hmm ... Hmm ... Pascal has an interesting idea here. Suppose
I ... Now I will call the change of a function the derivative and denote
it dy/dx. I'll find the area under a curve by integrating ... Ah!
Derivatives and integrals are inversely related. I have discovered the
calculus!!!
56) slide of Hanover (Aiton)
M In 1676 Leibniz takes a position in Hanover. Shortly before he
is to leave for Hanover via London, he receives Newton's first letter.
When he arrives in London he calls upon John Collins. Collins allows
Leibniz to read De Analysis. Leibniz makes some notes on infinite series,
but pays scant attention to any other material.
L Mr. Collins, thank you for sharing some of Mr. Newton's notes.
(To himself) Newton understands a great deal.
57) slide of Anagram 2 (hws)
M Soon after arriving in Hanover, Leibniz receives Newton's second
letter with its famous anagram. Leibniz replies, knowing full well that
Newton may understand the calculus.
58) slide of list of accomplishments (hws)
L I like Hanover. The Duke allows me time for my own research.
M During the next several years Leibniz continues developing his
calculus and devotes his enormous energies to significant accomplishments
in numerous areas.. (M points to slide)
59) slide of Duchess Sophie (hws, full statue)
(This dialogue should insinuate an affair between L and Sophie)
L Duchess Sophie.
M Yes, my Wilhelm.
L I have some ideas for the palace gardens.
60) slide of Herrenhausen Gardens (hws)
M Wilhelm! I love this garden. It would not have been completed had
it not been for you. I hope you always will be my friend and counselor.
L The garden's beauty is exceeded only by your own.
61) slide of Leibniz's Article On Calculus (Saunders)
M In 1684, Wilhelm Leibniz publishes the very first article on the
calculus. Two years later he publishes a second article. Leibniz takes
great care in the development of notation. He knows fluxions and fluents
are closely related to derivatives and integrals. (M looks at L) Wilhelm
Leibniz, you are the first person to publish an article on the calculus.
Why didn't you share some credit with Newton? (M looks at N) Isaac
Newton, you delayed too long. (L & N turn away with distain)
62) slide of Newton (hws, close up of statue)
N Dear Mr. Leibniz, "I have refrained from publishing my fluxions and
fluents for fear that disputes and controversies may be raised against me
by ignoramuses." (To himself) If Hooke were only dead, then I could publish.
L 1694 Royal Society. Please urge the most honored and distinguished
Isaac Newton to publish his work on the calculus.
63) slide of John Wallis (cartoon, Rankin)
L Wallis' book claims Englishmen knew of Newton's work in calculus
well before I published my derivatives and integrals. Is he insinuating
that I stole Newton's ideas as Fatio did?
M Wilhelm.
64) slide of Johann Bernoulli (Eves)
L Yes, Johann Bernoulli.
M I have a challenge problem, one that we who know calculus can
solve. Let's send the problem to the most distinguished mathematicians
in the world, you, myself, my brother, l'Hôpital, Huygens, Fatio and
Newton. We'll see who solves the Brachistochrone Challenge.
65) slide of Brachistochrone Challenge (hws)
L Good! But, don't compliment Fatio with a copy! Let me see the
problem! I'll solve it tonight! Ah, we may fool our friend Isaac yet!
N This is an interesting problem. I'll solve it tonight after work
and send my solution anonymously. Bernoulli and Leibniz will not deceive
me. I must also devise my own challenge!!
L Johann, we have an anonymous solution to the Brachistochrone
Challenge.
66) slide of Newton (hws, white bust)
M Ah, Wilhelm, Mr. Newton solved our challenge. "The lion is
recognized by his print".
L It was sheer madness to think we could fool Isaac Newton.
(to himself) I should not be perceived as an author of this challenge.
I must write the Royal Society.
67) slide of L'Hôpital (David Smith Collection, Saunders)
M In 1696, L'Hôpital published the first calculus book. In the
preface he quotes Leibniz as having noted that Newton discovered
something similar.
68) slide of Sophie (hws, portrait)
L My sweet Sophie may become Queen of England. I'm to assist with
the negotiations. Perhaps, when she is Queen, I'll have an important
position in London or Paris.
Open Warfare (scene 5)
69) slide of Fatio de Duillier (Eves)
M I, Fatio de Duillier, hereby publish a detailed analysis of
the Brachistochrone Challenge. Leibniz simply does not understand the
full importance of Mr. Newton's fluxions and fluents.
70) slide of Leibniz (hws, white bust)
L Argument between Newton and me is absurd. "It would be a
ridiculous spectacle for learned men to exchange insults like
fishwives."
71) slide of John Wallis (Eves)
M In 1699, Wallis publishes the two letters of 1676 along with
letters testifying to Newton's progress by 1673 and Leibniz's ignorance
in 1674. War was declared!
72) slide of Leibniz and Newton 1 (hws)
L I wonder if he really did discover the calculus while I was
still in Leipzig.
M In 1701, Leibniz received copies of a list of errors in The
Principia, errors that were originally found by Newton, himself.
L (quietly) I'll use these errors to advance my own case and
embarrass Mr. Newton. They'll be published anonymously. I would love
to see his face when others ask the great Isaac Newton about his own
mistakes.
M Tell me, Mr. Leibniz, what is your opinion of Isaac Newton?
L If we consider all of mathematics from the beginning of the
world to the time of Sir Isaac Newton, then what Sir Isaac has done
is much the better half.
73) slide of burn Hooke's Portrait (cartoon, Rankin)
N Robert Hooke is finally dead. I'll remake the Royal Society
in my own image, put Leibniz in his place, and remove all references
to Robert Hooke. I can now publish my work on area and fluxions.
74) slide of Leibniz and Newton 2 (hws)
L Newton's idea of gravity is inconsistent with God's will. I'll
publish another anonymous article that subtly endorses Bernoulli's
opinion that Sir Isaac Newton stole my calculus.
N Leibniz implies that I stole his calculus. He'll wish he was
never born.
75) slide of whispers re plagiarism (cartoon, Rankin)
L What is this in the minutes of the Royal Society? Johann
Kriel accuses me! ... of plagiarism! I'm gone two years on a secret
diplomatic mission and now face this "impertinent accusation". I
demand an apology from Kriel and the Society.
N Leibniz wants an apology does he? As President of the Society,
I'll appoint a commission to examine all the facts. I'll even
ghostwrite their report. Now, let's see ... It is clear to this
Commission that Sir Isaac Newton discoved the calculus eighteen years
before umm umm. (N nods approval) However, the Society in its desire
to avoid acrimony will not press criminal charges against Mr. Leibniz.
(N nods approval) I think the Society can afford to distribute the
report at no charge. Mr. Leibniz, (N points finger at L) "Second
inventors have no rights."
76) slide of a confused Newton (cartoon, Rankin)
M The Principia is so inaccurate that it is obvious its author
didn't discover calculus. Johann Bernoulli, 1713.
77) slide of Wallis (Eves)
L The calculus attributed to Sir Isaac Newton and reported in
Mr. Wallis' book is no more than a poor copy of my calculus.
78) slide of Flamsteed (cartoon, Rankin)
N First, Hooke attacks me, then Leibniz and Bernoulli. Now
Sir Robert Peyton complains in Parliament about the mint, and
Flamsteed berates me for publishing his celestial observations.
They will learn to bend to the will of Sir Isaac Newton.
79) slide of Leibniz and Newton 3 (hws)
L Perhaps I should write a comprehensive history of the origin
of the calculus. I'll do it next year when I'm not so busy or so
tired.
80) slide of King George I (Hatton)
Sophie, why did you die? I miss you so. ... Your son, George,
will be the next King of England. (L says to himself) I must
ingratiate myself with George so I'm appointed to a position
comparable to Sir Isaac Newton.
81) slide of Leibniz and Newton 4 (hws)
N Leibniz is a fool. How can a man of intellect conceive of
such a stupid notation? It must be made clear that Leibniz is a
villain ... Joseph, Joseph Raphson, I need a favor.
M A History of Fluxions: Any intelligent and fair-minded man
will concede that not only did Sir Isaac Newton discover the calculus,
but Wilhelm Leibniz tried to steal Newton's ideas. The German's
notation is far-fetched, symbolizing insignificant novelties"
Joseph Raphson, 1715
82) slide of doves (Anglican Digest)
M Conti and other noted scholars tried to reconcile Newton
and Leibniz.
L Dear Mr. Conti "I came to London in 1673 almost innocent of
higher geometry and did not, as my enemies claim, see Collins.
I returned to Paris where I profited from reading Mercator and
conversing with Huygens and finally, in 1675, conjectured the calculus.
I never charged Sir Isaac Newton with plagiarism. Mr. Newton's
supporters poisoned his mind about me. They misinterpreted my
statements. The Royal Society did not have all the facts when
it condemned me."
N I make up my own mind! My friends did not influence me!
I fairly weighed the evidence! The Royal Society fairly weighed
all the evidence! Leibniz is a thief!
83) slide of Leibniz tomb (hws)
M Wilhelm Leibniz died November 14, 1716. Only two persons
attended his funeral. "He was buried more like a robber than what
he really was, the ornament of his country"
N Leibniz is dead!! "I have broken his heart." Now I must
insure that his memory is tainted forever.
84) slide of Newton portrait (hws)
M By 1720, all informed Europeans knew Leibniz and Newton had
independently discovered the calculus and Newton's discovery
pre-dated Leibniz's. All informed Englishmen believed Leibniz
plagiarized Isaac Newton.
N I'm old and so very tired.
M Sir Isaac. After 85 years, of what are you most proud?
N (N contemplates answer) Sir, I am a VIRGIN. (said clearly with pride)
85) slide of Newton's tomb (hws)
M Isaac Newton died on March 20,1727, believing Wilhelm Leibniz
to be a dishonorable man. Newton was "buried like a king" in
Westminster Abbey.
Epilogue (scene 6)
86) slide of Leibniz and Newton 5 (hws)
L Your fluxions were and are incomprehensible. It was not
until after the Second World War that your calculus was published.
N You always thought your notation was superior.
L It was and still is. British mathematics suffered for over
100 years because of your inarticulate notation and your neurotic
ego. (N&L turn away from each other)
M From Isaac Newton's death until well after the American
Revolution, only a few significant mathematicians dotted the British
landscape. However, on the continent, Leibniz's notation gave birth
to numerous famous mathematicians. It was not until 1811, when
Charles Babbage convinced the Royal Society to adopt Leibniz's notation,
that British mathematics again began to bloom.
(All three actors flip their lights off)
The End
Footnotes/bibliography
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(2) Baumgart, John K., Editor. Historical Topics For The Mathematics
Classroom . NCTM. c. 1989
(12) Boyer, C, B. The History of The Calculus And Its Conceptual
Development. Dover Publications Inc. c. 1949
(13) Christensen, Chris. "Newton's Method for Resolving Affected
Equations". The College Mathematics Journal. November 1996
(9) Edwards, Jr., C. H. The Historical Development of the Calculus.
Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. c. 1979
(10) Eves, Howard. An Introduction to the History of Mathematics.
Saunders College Publishing. c. 1990
(1) Eves, Howard. Great Moments In Mathematics (After 1650).
MAA. c. 1981
(6) Fossum, Robert (Editor). Abstracts of Papers Presented to the
American Mathematical Society. AMS. c. 1996
(4) HaIl, A. R. Philosophers At War: The Quarrel Between Newton and
Leibniz. Cambridge University Press. c. 1980
(7) Morawetz, Cathleen (President, AMS). Joint Mathematics Meetings
Program. Orlando, Florida, January 10-13, 1996.
(5) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Historical Topics
for the Mathematics Classroom. NCTM. c. 1969, 1989
(8) Priestley, W. M. Calculus: An Historical Approach. Springer-Verlag
New York Inc. c. 1979
(3) Swetz, Frank. Learn From The Masters. MAA. c.1995
(14) Westfall, P.S. Never At Rest. A Biography of Isaac Newton .
Cambridge University Press. c. 1980.
(15) Biography. Sir Isaac Newton The Gravity of Genius. A&E
Television Networks. c. 1996
(16) Annenberg/CPB Collection. "Integration" The Mechanical
Universe...and Beyond. c. 1985
(17) Thomas, Glanffrwd. Birth of Calculus. Media Guild. c.
(16) Jordan, Karen, conversation on November 15, 1996.
(19) Marian Cullen. Curator, Woolsthorpe Manor, conversation on
June 27, 1996.
(20) Herbert Breger, Curator Leibniz Library, University of Hanover,
Hanover, Germany. conversation on July ?,1996.
(21) need name, Curator Grantham Musuem, Grantham, England,
conversation on June 26, 1996.
(22) need name, Assistant Headmaster, Kings School, Grantham,
England, conversation on June 26, 1996.
(23) Beefeater Guide, Tower of London, London England, conversation
on June 21, 1996
(24) Bursar, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge,
England. conversation on June 22, 1996
(25) Merz, J. T. Leibniz. Hacker Press. c. 1948
(26) Thomas, George and Finney, Ross. Calculus and Analytical
Geometry. 7th Ed._ Addison Wesley. c. 1988
(27) Shenk, Al. Calculus and Analytic Geometry. Goodyear
Publishing Co. Inc. c. 1977
(28) Eves, Howard. In Mathematical Circles. Prindle, Weber &
Schmidt, Inc. c. 1969
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Sons. c. 1968
(30) Meadows, Jack. The Great Scientists. Oxford University
Press. c. 1987
(31) The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vol. 7, p. 250-51,
Vol 24, p. 931-5. c. 1994
(32) Rankin, William. Introducing Newton. Cavendish House.
c. 1994
(33) Hatton, Raginald. George I, Elector and King. Harvard
University Press. c. 1978
(34) Barbee, E. L. The Anglican Digest. Vol 39, No.3. SPEAK,
c. 1997
(35) Gonzalez, J. L. The Story of Christianity. Vol.1.
Harper & Row. c. 1984
(36) Elwell, W. A. Editor. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.
Baker. c. 1984
(37) Marchant & Guthrie. Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1727.
Mallory International. c. 1987
(38)