Among the most important contributions to humanity’s scientific development were the ideas of Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716). His letters and essays reflect his views on a wide range of topics, from mathematics and physics to philosophy and linguistics. The biography of Gottfried Leibniz tells the story of a man who was much more than Isaac Newton’s enemy.

Summary of Gottfried Leibniz’s life

The index

  • A prodigy in the classroom

  • Inspire yourself with Parisian style

  • The infinitesimal calculus and Gottfried Leibniz

Student prodigy

He was born on July 1, 1646 in Leipzig, Germany. Catharina Schmuck, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig, and Friedrich Leibniz had him as their second child. The young man displayed an unsurpassed intelligence from a very young age. He eventually became a prodigy student because of his remarkable school performance. Shortly before he passed away, Friedrich left her his entire book collection in honor of his son.

My head is full of ideas, and I’m aware that I won’t have time to write them all down. The beauty of their minds can be combined with my work in the future to produce new concepts. Gottfried Leibniz.

At the age of 14, Gottfried Leibniz entered the University of Leipzig because of his unbeatable abilities as a student. He studied Philosophy, Law, and Mathematics simultaneously. By 1665, Leibniz had not only completed all three bachelor’s degrees, but also a postgraduate degree in Philosophy. The college rejected him for being too young for a law degree. Offended by the refusal, he left Leipzig.

Inspire yourself with Parisian style

After leaving the University of Leipzig, Gottfried Leibniz presented his thesis at the University of Altdorf. As a result of the work he performed, the intellectuals of this house of studies decided to immediately award him a postgraduate degree in law. Following his graduation, he turned down a teaching job in Altdorf and became an adviser to the Electoral College. His position allowed him to gain a reputation among Nuremberg’s upper class.

Gottfried Leibniz travelled to Paris in 1672 to meet with representatives of the French government after becoming a member of the German diplomatic corps. Soon after arriving, he met the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, who encouraged him to improve his knowledge of physics and mathematics. Having been sent to France by a diplomatic chief, Leibniz decided to stay. Together with Huygens, Leibniz eventually proposed the infinitesimal calculus’ bases.

As there were no science jobs available in Paris, Gottfried Leibniz accepted an offer to be an adviser to the Duke of Hannover in 1675. He returned to Germany after completing his preparations and moved close to the palace. In the coming years, the duke will remain in the spotlight. It was in 1677 that he was promoted to privy councillor, a position he would hold for the rest of his life.

The infinitesimal calculus and Gottfried Leibniz

The monarchy provided Gottfried Leibniz with access to an enormous number of books and essays. All of his investigations would benefit from the information accumulated during these years. Acta Eruditorum was founded by him and Otto Mencke in order to publish the results obtained. This publication ultimately led to the publication of Leibniz’ essay Nova methodus pro maximis et minimis in 1684. This writing would later be considered his most important work and the basis for infinitesimal calculus.


At first, Newton was thought to have won the dispute over who invented the calculus, which partially destroyed Gottfried Leibniz’s career. It appears, however, that Leibniz’s contributions to this field were more significant during the 20th century.

Among the intellectuals of the time, Gottfried Leibniz’s next publications in Acta Eruditorum would further increase his popularity. Each article of his arouses the fascination of the scientific community and makes the magazine even more well-known. As for Leibniz, he combined his investigations with diplomatic duties and writing some historical records for monarchs.

In 1708, John Keill claimed that Gottfried Leibniz had copied Newton’s concepts regarding calculus. Leibniz’s valuable contributions to all fields of science would be overshadowed for years by this legal and thought dispute. Despite the significant loss of face, Leibniz continued to publish essays in his journal until he died of arthritis on November 14, 1716.

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