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LEIBNIZ, GOTTFRIED WILHELM
Nova Methodus pro maximis et minimis. IN: Acta Eruditorum.
Leipzig: J. Grossium and J.F. Gletitschium, 1684-1685.

FIRST EDITION of the first announcement of differential calculus.

"The controversy with Newton on priority of invention of the calculus does not detract from the superiority of Leibniz' method of notation, one retained in modern use. He applied his new method to the solution of the cubic parabola and the inverse methods of tangents and many problems left unsolved by Descartes. Fifteen years after Newton's first work in fluxions and nine after his own independent discovery, Leibniz published [Nova Methodus], his first announcement of the differential calculus" (Dibner 109).

"Leibniz was an almost universal genius whose place in the history of mathematics depends on his being an independent inventor of the infinitesimal calculus and on his contributions to combinatorial analysis which foreshadowed the development of modern mathematical analysis... The Acta Eruditorum was established in imitation of the French Journal des Scavans in Berlin in 1682 and Leibniz was a frequent contributor. Another German mathematician (E.W. Tschirnhausen) having published in it his paper on quadratures, based on researches that Liebniz had communicated to him, Leibniz at last decided in 1684 to present to the world the more abstruse parts of his own work on the calculus. His epoch-making papers give rules of calculation without proof for rates of variation of functions and for drawing tangents to curves...

"The infinitesimal calculus originated in the 17th century with the researches of Kepler, Cavalieri, Torrecelli, Fermat and Barrow, but the two independant inventors of the subject, as we understand it today, were Newton and Leibniz... Although both Newton and Leibniz developed similar ideas, Leibniz devised a superior symbolism and his notation is now an essential feature in all presentation of the sibject.... With the calculus a new era began in mathematics, and the development of mathematical physics since the 17th century would not have been possible without the aid of this powerful technique" (PMM 160).

 

IN: Acta Eruditorum, 1684-1685, pp. 467-73. The full volume offered, with volume title, index, and addenda. Thick quarto, contemporary half-calf with elaborately gilt-decorated spine; edges dyed red. Corners on binding bumped and worn. Text generally very clean with only ocassional light browning.

$21,500
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