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Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (1 July 1646 – 14 November 1716) was a prominent German polymath and one of the most important logicians, mathematicians and natural philosophers of the Enlightenment. As a representative of the seventeenth-century tradition of rationalism, Leibniz developed, as his most prominent accomplishment, the ideas of differential and integral calculus, independently of Isaac Newton’s contemporaneous developments. Mathematical works have consistently favored Leibniz’s notation as the conventional expression of calculus.

Leibniz is credited, along with Sir Isaac Newton, with the discovery of calculus (differential and integral calculus). According to Leibniz’s notebooks, a critical breakthrough occurred on 11 November 1675, when he employed integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of a function y = f(x). He introduced several notations used to this day, for instance the integral sign ∫, representing an elongated S, from the Latin word summa, and the d used for differentials, from the Latin word differentia. Leibniz did not publish anything about his calculus until 1684. Leibniz expressed the inverse relation of integration and differentiation, later called the fundamental theorem of calculus, by means of a figure in his 1693 paper Supplementum geometriae dimensoriae.


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