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A: Mitte, Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany

The First Publication on the Differential Calculus

Leibniz's plate of diagrams for his paper on the calculus

In 1684 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz published his first paper on the differential calculus: "Nova methodus pro maximis et minimis, itemque tangentibus, quae nec fractas nec irrationales quantitates moratur, & singulare pro illi calculi genus" in the periodical, Acta eruditorum issued from Leipzig. He published the paper nine years after he had independently discovered the differential calculus.  Although Newton had probably discovered the calculus earlier than Leibniz, Leibniz was the first to publish his method, which employed a notation superior to that used by Newton.  The priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz over the calculus is one of the most famous controversies in the history of science; it led to a breach between English and Continental mathematics that was not healed until the early nineteenth century.

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 160.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1326.  

♦ In April 2012 I learned that there are three issues of this publication involving two different settings of type, and two different versions of the copperplate geometrical diagram. An early issue, incorporating numerous mathematical errors in the typesetting on p. 467, was included in the Norman library.  It is illustrated in volume two of Christie's auction catalogue (1998) lot 613.  A different, and presumably later printing with the errors corrected on p. 467, is illustrated by Horblit, One Books Famous in Science (1964) no. 66a.  A third issue, either before or after that in the Norman library, but prior to that described by Horblit, was reported by Dieter Schierenberg BV in 2011. That issue incorporates the earlier state of p. 467 but with the addition of "M. Oct." at the top of the plate under the plate number.

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