Menu Close

EN | Personajes ilustres – Knuth

Knuth, Donald Ervin (1938 - )

Universal genius who had a major influence on many fields like logic, mathematics, mechanics, geology, jurisprudence, history, linguistics and theology, Leibniz was born on 1 July 1646 in Leipzig.

He was the son of a moral philosophy professor. At the age of 12 year, he taught himself Latin and Greek in order to read his father’s books. As a child he was educated at the Nicolai School.

From 1661 to 1666, he studied law at the University of Leipzig, receiving a doctorate in law from Altdorf University in 1667.

In May 1663, he presented his work De Principio Individui, partly inspired by Lutheran nominalism.

F rom 1663 to 1667, he studied mathematics at Jena University where he wrote De Arte Combinatoria, setting forth the model that is the theoretical predecessor of the modern computer: all reasoning can be reduced to an ordered combination of elements such as numbers, words, sounds or colours.

In 1671 he published his Hypothesis Physica Nova, which states that motion is caused by the action of a spirit (God), as in Kepler’s theory.

He continued his degree in laws, working on the Court of Mainz until 1672, the year in which it is sent to Paris to try to dissuade Louis XIV to attack Germany. He pursued his legal career, working at the Court of Mainz until 1672, in which year he was dispatched to Paris to try to dissuade Louis XIV from attacking Germany. He stayed in Paris until 1676, where he continued to practise law and sought financial support to build a calculating machine, an upgraded version of an earlier model by Pascal. It was presented in London in March 1673.

In 1676, based on the Cartesian formulation of the principles of motion, known as mechanics, he introduced a new principle, known as dynamics.

In 1675, he proposed the foundations of differential and integral calculus.

In 1679, he completed the binary numeral system and laid the groundwork of situational analysis, known today as general topology.

In 1684 he published the preliminary results of his studies on infinitesimal calculus, in rivalry with Newton, who had already arrived at but did not publish the idea until 1687. The notation proposed by Leibniz was adopted and is still used today.

He was a genuine pioneer of mathematical logic suggesting the idea of an alphabet of human thoughts and a universal language.

In 1690, he returned to Germany and was appointed court librarian of the Duke of Hanover

In 1695, he published Systeme Nouveau, explaining his theory of dynamics.

I n 1697 he published De Rerum Originatione, an attempt to prove that the ultimate origin of things is God, and also De Ipse Natura, which explains the internal working of nature in terms of his theory of dynamics.

In 1700, he was appointed first president of the Berlin Academy of Science.

In 1710, he published the work expounding his ideas about divine justice.

In 1714, he wrote Monadology, synthesizing his philosophy set forth in Theodicee.

Leibniz died on 14 November 1716, leaving behind a large number of manuscripts, not of all which have yet been published.