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Published by Jiang Yuan Tay

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Published by: Jiang Yuan Tay on Jul 25, 2011
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Why all the fuss over names? Why not simply use the term “Church’s
Thesis” invented by Kleene [1952], and let it refer to the “Computability
Thesis?” This is in fact what is widely (and incorrectly) done.
If we had to attach a single name to “the calculus” every time we men-
tioned it, whose name should it be? Isaac Newton began working on a form
of the calculus in 1666 but did not publish it until much later. Gottfried
Leibniz began work on the calculus in 1674 and published his account of the
differential calculus in 1684 and the integral calculus in 1686. Newton did
not publish it until 1687 although most believe he had been working on it
before Leibniz began in 1674. There was a great controversy about priority
up until Leibniz’s death in 1716. The British Royal Society handed down
a verdict in 1715 crediting Isaac Newton with the discovery of the calculus,
and stating that Leibniz was guilty of plagarism (although these charges
were later proved false). Newton was more established than Leibniz and
had vigorous supporters. Newton and his followers campaigned vigorously
for his position. The Wiki encylopedia wrote,

“Despite this ruling of the Royal Society, mathematics through-
out the eighteenth century was typified by an elaboration of the
differential and integral calculus in which mathematicians gen-
erally discarded Newton’s fluxional calculus in favor of the new
methods presented by Leibniz.”


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