Definition:Calculus/Differential

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Definition

Differential calculus is a subfield of calculus which is concerned with the study of the rates at which quantities change.


Also see

  • Results about differential calculus can be found here.


Linguistic Note

The term differential calculus is the Anglified version of the neo-Latin phrase calculus differentialis, coined by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.


Historical Note

The technique used by Archimedes of Syracuse to find the Tangent to Archimedean Spiral at Point is often suggested as anticipating the differential calculus.

Pierre de Fermat had the basic idea of differential calculus in its modern form in about $1628$ or $1629$, but he did not publish these ideas until a decade or so later.


Much of the early work developing differential calculus was done by Isaac Newton.

His initial work on this was done during the years $1665$ to $1667$ when he was at home in Woolsthorpe.

At the same time that Newton was arranging his thesis, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was publishing many papers himself on the same subject.


Sources