Barrow, Leibniz and the Geometrical Proof of the Fundamental Theorem of the Calculus

Annals of Science 71 (3):335-354 (2014)
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SummaryIn 1693, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz published in the Acta Eruditorum a geometrical proof of the fundamental theorem of the calculus. It is shown that this proof closely resembles Isaac Barrow's proof in Proposition 11, Lecture 10, of his Lectiones Geometricae, published in 1670. This comparison provides evidence that Leibniz gained substantial help from Barrow's book in formulating and presenting his geometrical formulation of this theorem. The analysis herein also supports the work of J. M. Child, who in 1920 studied the early manuscripts of Leibniz and concluded that he had frequently copied his diagrams from Barrow's book, but without acknowledgement. It is also shown that the diagram of Leibniz associated with his 1693 proof has often been reproduced with errors that make some aspects of his text difficult to comprehend.



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