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Col portrait of the German mathematician Leibniz

Col portrait of the German mathematician Leibniz

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Colour portrait of the German mathematician & philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1646-1716. The son of a Lutheran professor of philosophy, Leibniz studied a wide range of subjects and gained a doctorate in law. He worked as a somewhat shady lawyer and diplomat. He was involved in planning a French invasion of Egypt, & also in unsuccessful attempts to reconcile the Catholic and Protestant churches. Meanwhile he discovered calculus (independently of Newton) & combinatorial analysis, invented a calculating machine, and developed an atomist philosophy (monadology). His philosophical theory that 'this is the best of all possible worlds' was satirized by Voltaire.

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