1251 words - 5 pages

Even though Newton contributed to calculus centuries ago, there were still some similarities to modern day calculus, but there were also some differences compared to modern day calculus. Newton’s calculus resembled a current day textbook in that the problems contained numbers and variables. Newton’s calculus also contained many life application problems such as problems dealing with acceleration and velocity. In addition, Newton’s calculus dealt with derivatives, integrals, and binomials. However, Newton’s calculus and today’s calculus differs in that there were numerous mathematicians who lived after Newton who invented more calculus, expanded on calculus, or applied calculus to other things. These men were Euler, Fourier, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet, and Bernhard Riemenn. Euler invented the symbols e and π. In addition, Euler dealt with the concept of infinity. Also, Fourier expanded the definitions of derivatives and integrals. Gauss applied calculus to geometry and conics. Dirichlet invented the definition of a function, which is still used today. Finally, Riemenn redefined an integral, and that definition is still used today in textbooks (“History of Calculus”). Also, today, we tend to use limits more often (“The History of Calculus”). Therefore, Newton’s calculus was very similar to modern day calculus in that it required applied mathematics, but there were also other mathematicians who advanced calculus as well, which made modern day calculus different from Newton’s.

There are numerous ideas about Newton being an applied mathematician, theoretical mathematician, or scientist. However, the definition of applied mathematics is, “the mathematics of problems arising in the physical, life and social sciences as well as in engineering, and provides a broad qualitative and quantitative background for use in these fields” (“Frequently Asked Questions”). Based on this definition, Newton would have been an applied mathematician because he wanted to integrate math into science. He was able to do this because he used calculus in his studies on gravity and motion. In addition, his studies helped him with developing calculus. Newton was not a theoretical mathematician because he utilized his knowledge of math and applied it to science. While he did theorize, he also conducted experiments to see if his hypotheses were correct. In addition, Newton could have been classified as a scientist, but he was also a mathematician. A scientist is often categorized as only doing science (sometimes utilizing math as well), but Newton developed calculus. Therefore, he was more than just a scientist. He was an applied mathematician. Thus, Newton was able to discover and develop calculus and also apply it to scientific experiments.

However, Newton was not the only one who developed calculus. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, a German mathematician, also developed calculus at the same time as Newton. The...

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