Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was born on July 01st, 1646, in Leipzig, Saxony, now called Germany. He was a mathematician, philosopher of Enlightenment, and a passionate individual on Universal Science.
Leibniz’s interest in mathematics let him create the differential and integral calculus and the modern binary number system. He became the first productive inventors of mechanical calculators. While explaining pinwheel calculation, he invented the Leibniz wheel in 1685. Computers are based on his binary number system.
He was considered an optimistic philosopher at that time. He expressed that evil must exist so God will be discrete. Leibniz created his philosophical write-up to challenge the evil created by the great gods. He was one of the advocates of rationalism during the 17th century and Rene Descartes, Voltaire, and Baruch Spinoza.
This German mathematician is also popular for his contribution to metaphysics. He wrote lots of books on philosophy, biology, medicine, linguistic, and, most importantly, the hype of the 21st century, computer science.
Quick Facts: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
July 1, 1646
Age of Death
70 years old
Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Monadology, Discourse on Metaphysics, New Essays on Human Understanding
University of Altdorf (1666-1667)
Leipzig University (1661-1666)
University of Jena (1663-1663)
Philosopher, Mathematician, Engineer, Poet, Physicist, Geologist, and Biologist
Early Life and career
Wilhelm was born at the end of the Thirty year’s war. His mother was Catharina Schmuck, and his father a professor of Philosophy, Friedrich Leibniz. Leibniz had a sister, Anna Catharina, a half-sister and half-brother from his first stepmother.
His maternal grandfather was a lawyer and upbrought his mother as well educated and with good morals. Unfortunately, Leibniz lost his father at the age of 6, and his mother took care of him; she was pious Lutheran, so she was able to influence her children to be on the right path.
Leibniz was smart enough to learn Latin and Greek at the age of 12 and joined his father’s university at 14. He inherited his father’s library. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1662 and a Master’s degree in 1664.
In 1666, he published his book, his habilitation thesis in philosophy ‘De ArteCombinatoria.’ By then, he wanted to get his next degree in Law. His application was not good enough for the University of Leipzig. He submitted his thesis to the University of Altdorf instead and obtained the doctorate in Law in five months.
One of the diplomats, Johann Christian, was appointed for work at the court of the archbishop of Mainz. Leibniz served the elector of Mainz for the rest of his life. During his service, he wrote an essay. He was invited by French Government for discussion, where he spent four years of his life in Paris.
In 1676 he was promoted to Privy Counsellor of Justice to the Duke of Hannover, then he got the chance to serve three consecutive rulers of the House of Hannover. The duke always supported Leibniz for his passion for his further plans.
Contributions of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
His greatest contribution, especially for this 21st century, was the invention of the binary system. This system represents symbols 0 and 1 for numbers or logical accounts. The operation of modern computer system function based on the binary system too. Before the invention of the first modern computer, Leibniz created this system a few centuries back.
His article ‘De I’ArithmetiqueBinaire‘ was proposed during the 17th century. However, the binary numbers were already in use by ancient Chinese that Leibniz acknowledged in his article.
Leibniz proposed a theory on integral and differential calculus that had been published in 1684. Though Sir Isaac Newton’s theory, which is much similar, was published in 1693. Newton put ahead of his disagreement as he said that he had been working on it long back, and Leibniz might have got it from him.
Newton was president of the Royal Society of London back then, succeeded in taking the credit by himself for the invention, and the credit of publication went to Leibniz. Sir Isaac Newton accused him of stealing his theory, which harmed Leibniz.
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But we cannot ignore the fact that Leibniz invented the early calculating machine, which supports his theory was not a copy. And currently, it seemed Leibniz’s notation is different from Newton’s and followed with priority by students of calculus.
Leibniz simplifies the method of arranging linear equations into matrices. This was also proposed by ancient Chinese long before but was not implemented.
The philosopher introduced monads while other philosophers were putting forward their thoughts on mind and body. In the 17th century, Leibniz exclaimed God arranged the monads, which do not matter. As per him, each monad has a distinctive identity and properties, and God arranged them.
The most important theory that the chemist worked on was the atomic theory. His atomic theory says all elements have identical matter called atoms. They are indivisible and indestructible. Different elements consist of atoms that differ in size and mass.
Leibniz wrote various articles, books, essays, and systems in Latin, German and French. ‘Combinatorial Art‘ and the ‘Theodicee‘ are based on philosophy. He wrote between 200,000 to 300,000 pages and around 15000 letters in correspondence to other intellectuals.
Personal Life of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Leibniz was brought up by her mother, and she contributed a lot for him to get good guidance. Leibniz never got married. He often complained about money. After his death, the only heir of his property was his sister’s stepson. And the inherited amount was a good lump sum.
The most praised and notable contribution to philosophy by Leibniz could be ‘Optimism.’ In this, he assumed God as a good rational being and chosen this world among others to bring to existence.
He believed that everything anybody does happens for a reason, and bad things could make good distinct from realizing. However, French writes Voltaire opposed his idea of the best world.
Legacy – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University is located in Hannover, Germany, founded on May 02nd, 1831. It’s a public university, the largest and oldest one for Science and Technology. The university successfully welcomes international students and admitted around 8% of them.
Earlier in 1978, it was just called the University of Hannover later in 2006, it was renamed ‘Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz with great respect for Wilhelm’s contribution to mathematics and philosophy. The university sponsors the largest library for science and technology globally called the German National Library of Science and Technology.
The ‘Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize‘ is one of the world’s largest prizes for outstanding scientific researches. In 1985, The German government, in honor of Wilhelm, created this category award. The prize is 1.55 million euros for experimental criteria and 77,000 euros for theoretical criteria.
This prize set up aims to improve the working conditions, carry out great experiments and findings, research and encourage qualified and deserving youth, create room for opportunities, and finally employ them.
The mathematician died on November 14th, 1716, in Hannover, Germany. Even though he was a life member of the Royal Society, none of his courtiers or George I attended the funeral regarding him as not worthy of that honor as he was not in favor at that time.
However, he was admitted as a foreign member in 1700 by Fontenelle, before the French Academy of Science in Paris. The niece of Electress Sophia requested the tribute for him.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Quotes
- 1. Everything that is possible demands to exist.
- 2. The greatness of a life can only be estimated by the multitude of its actions. We should not count the years, it is our actions that constitute our life.
- 3. Philosophy consists mostly of kicking up a lot of dust and then complaining that you cannot see anything.
- 4. To love is to be delighted by the happiness of someone or to experience pleasure upon the happiness of another. I define this as true love.
- 5. Nothing is accomplished all at once, and it is one of my great maxims, and one of the most completely verified, that Nature makes no leaps: a maxim which I have called the law of continuity.
1. How did Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz die?
Leibniz died on the 14th of November, 1716, his closing years enfeebled by disease, harassed by controversy, embittered by neglect.
2. What did Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz invent?
Leibniz was most known for having invented the differential and integral calculus.
3. Why was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz important?
Leibniz was important both as a metaphysician and as a logician and distinguished also for his independent invention of the differential and integral circuits.
4. What did Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz as to do with computers?
The use of binary numbers date back to ancient Egypt, but it was 17th-century philosopher and mathematician, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who created the current binary number system used today.