You are on page 1of 3

History of Calculus is part of the history of mathematics focused on limits,

functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. The subject,

known historically as infinitesimal calculus, constitutes a major part
of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches,
differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the
fundamental theorem of calculus. Calculus is the study of change, in
the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the
study of operations and their application to solving equations. A
course in calculus is a gateway to other, more advanced courses in
mathematics devoted to the study of functions and limits, broadly
called mathematical analysis. Calculus has widespread applications
in science, economics, and engineering and can solve many problems
for which aIntegral calculus

Calculating volumes and areas, the basic function of integral calculus, can be traced back
to the Moscow papyrus (c. 1820 BC), in which an Egyptian mathematician successfully
calculated the volume of a pyramidal frustum.[1][2]

Greek geometers are credited with a significant use of infinitesimals. Democritus is the
first person recorded to consider seriously the division of objects into an infinite number
of cross-sections, but his inability to rationalize discrete cross-sections with a cone's
smooth slope prevented him from accepting the idea. At approximately the same time,
Zeno of Elea discredited infinitesimals further by his articulation of the paradoxes which
they create.

Antiphon and later Eudoxus are generally credited with implementing the method of
exhaustion, which made it possible to compute the area and volume of regions and solids
by breaking them up into an infinite number of recognizable shapes. Archimedes
developed this method further, while also inventing heuristic methods which resemble
modern day concepts somewhat. (See Archimedes' Quadrature of the Parabola, The
Method, Archimedes on Spheres & Cylinders.[3]) It was not until the time of Newton that
these methods were made obsolete. It should not be thought that infinitesimals were put
on rigorous footing during this time, however. Only when it was supplemented by a
proper geometric proof would Greek mathematicians accept a proposition as true.

In the third century Liu Hui wrote his Nine Chapters and also Haidao suanjing (Sea
Island Mathematical Manual), which dealt with using the Pythagorean theorem (already
stated in the Nine Chapters), known in China as the Gougu theorem, to measure the size
of things. He discovered the usage of Cavalieri's principle to find an accurate formula for
the volume of a cylinder, showing a grasp of elementary concepts associated with the
differential and integral calculus. In the 11th century, the Chinese polymath, Shen Kuo,
developed 'packing' equations that dealt with integration.

Indian mathematicians produced a number of works with some ideas of calculus. The
formula for the sum of the cubes was first written by Aryabhata circa 500 AD, in order to
find the volume of a cube, which was an important step in the development of integral

The next major step in integral calculus came in the 11th century, when Ibn al-Haytham
(known as Alhacen in Europe), an Iraqi mathematician working in Egypt, devised what is
now known as "Alhazen's problem", which leads to an equation of the fourth degree, in
his Book of Optics. While solving this problem, he was the first mathematician to derive
the formula for the sum of the fourth powers, using a method that is readily generalizable
for determining the general formula for the sum of any integral powers. He performed an
integration in order to find the volume of a paraboloid, and was able to generalize his
result for the integrals of polynomials up to the fourth degree. He thus came close to
finding a general formula for the integrals of polynomials, but he was not concerned with
any polynomials higher than the fourth degree.[4]

In the 17th century, Pierre de Fermat, among other things, is credited with an ingenious
trick for evaluating the integral of any power function directly, thus providing a valuable
clue to Newton and Leibniz in their development of the fundamental theorem of calculus.
Fermat also obtained a technique for finding the centers of gravity of various plane and
solid figures, which influenced further work in quadrature.

At around the same time, there was also a great deal of work being done by Japanese
mathematicians, particularly Kowa Seki.[6] He made a number of contributions, namely in
methods of determining areas of figures using integrals, extending the method of
exhaustion. While these methods of finding areas were made largely obsolete by the
development of the fundamental theorems by Newton and Leibniz, they still show that a
sophisticated knowledge of mathematics existed in 17th century Japan.

[edit] Differential calculus

The Greek mathematician Archimedes was the first to find the tangent to a curve, other
than a circle, in a method akin to differential calculus. While studying the spiral, he
separated a point's motion into two components, one radial motion component and one
circular motion component, and then continued to add the two component motions
together thereby finding the tangent to the curve.[7]

The Indian mathematician-astronomer Aryabhata in 499 used a notion of infinitesimals

and expressed an astronomical problem in the form of a basic differential equation.[8]
Manjula, in the 10th century, elaborated on this differential equation in a commentary.
This equation eventually led Bhāskara II in the 12th century to develop the concept of a
derivative representing infinitesimal change, and he described an early form of "Rolle's

In the 15th century, an early version of the mean value theorem was first described by
Parameshvara (1370–1460) from the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics in his
commentaries on Govindasvāmi and Bhaskara II.[11]
In the 17th century, European mathematicians Isaac Barrow, Pierre de Fermat, Blaise
Pascal, John Wallis and others discussed the idea of a derivative. In particular, in
Methodus ad disquirendam maximam et minima and in De tangentibus linearum
curvarum, Fermat developed a method for determining maxima, minima, and tangents to
various curves that was equivalent to differentiation.[12] Isaac Newton would later write
that his own early ideas about calculus came directly from "Fermat's way of drawing

The first proof of Rolle's theorem was given by Michel Rolle in 1691 after the founding
of modern calculus. The mean value theorem in its modern form was stated by Augustin
Louis Cauchy (1789-1857) also after the founding of modern calculus.

[edit] Mathematical analysis

Main article: Mathematical analysis

Greek mathematicians such as Eudoxus and Archimedes made informal use of the
concepts of limits and convergence when they used the method of exhaustion to compute
the area and volume of regions and solids.[14] In India, the 12th century mathematician
Bhaskara II gave examples of the derivative and differential coefficient, along with a
statement of what is now known as Rolle's theorem.

Mathematical analysis has its roots in work done by Madhava of Sangamagrama in the
14th century, along with later mathematician-astronomers of the Kerala school of
astronomy and mathematics, who described special cases of Taylor series, including the
Madhava-Gregory series of the arctangent, the Madhava-Newton power series of sine and
cosine, and the infinite series of π.[15] Yuktibhasa, which some consider to be the first text
on calculus, summarizes these results.[16][17][18]

It has recently been conjectured that the discoveries of the Kerala school of astronomy
and mathematics were transmitted to Europe, though this is disputed.[19] (See Possibility
of transmission of Kerala School results to Europe.)

In the 15th century, a German cardinal named Nicholas of Cusa argued that rules made
for finite quantities lose their validity when applied to infinite ones, thus putting to rest
Zeno's paradoxes.