Astronomical Tales

Why an argument between two great mathematicians keep the English from understanding and utilizing calculus for two decades.

Though they did not work together or collaborate in any way, the German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Englishman Isaac Newton were co-inventors of calculus.

Newton developed calculus three years before Leibniz did, but because Newton was loathe to publish his works (he hated disputes and disagreements), Newton's papers appeared after those of Leibniz.

What do the Bubonic Plague, a nervous breakdown, and failing as a farmer have to do with the greatest scientific publication of all time?
the answer

Newton's distaste for argument did not prevent him from claiming priority over Leibniz, and so ensued a battle between the two mathematicians that made them both look like fools in front of their peers.

Because Newton's explication of calculus was much more difficult to understand than that of Leibniz, Englishmen loyal to Newton restricted the study of calculus to an elite few who could understand Newton's notations and methods. And they did their best to restrict the study of Leibniz' work on calculus altogether.

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