Viktor Blasjo
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Who invented the Leibnitz notation $\frac{d^2y}{dx^2}$ for the *second* derivative?
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23 votes

Leibniz did use this notation for instance in his paper Supplementum geometriae practicae, Acta Eruditorum, April 1693, p. 179 (Google Books link):

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Current ways of thinking in the History of Mathematics
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14 votes

I just wrote a paper going through the case against the geometrical algebra and arguing that the modern consensus against it is ill-founded and an associated blog post. But my opinion is a minority ...

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Who invented differential calculus for rational functions?
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9 votes

The differential calculus for rational functions can be reduced to finding roots of polynomials. Such methods were used by Fermat and Descartes. See problems 12.3-12.5 of my history of mathematics ...

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Where to pursue a PhD in history of mathematics in Europe?
8 votes

According to the Mathematics Genealogy Project (https://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/search.php) database, the following universities have awarded three or more mathematics PhDs for dissertations ...

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Source of claim that Leibniz discovered separation of variables for ODEs in 1691?
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7 votes

The reference is probably to a treatise sent to Huygens on 5 October 1691, where Leibniz says (and illustrates with several examples) that "Whenever the subtangent [$=y/y'$, but it would also work for ...

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Where did Leibniz explore the product rule of differential calculus?
6 votes

Leibniz states the product rule in his first paper on the calculus (1684). It's in the middle of the fist page (page 467) as can be seen here: https://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/...

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Did Darwin say that the human menstrual cycle length was influenced by the tides?
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6 votes

Yes. The menstrual cycle is surely one of the "some of our functions" that Darwin speaks of in this passage from Chapter VI of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex: The ...

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Did Isaac Barrow also discover the other thing about the inverse relation between area and tangent?
5 votes

Insofar as Barrow realised the first theorem, he also realised the second. Barrow's theorem X.11 can be interpreted as FTC1 $$\frac{d}{dt}\int_{a}^t y(x)dx = y(t)$$ while his theorem XI.19 can be ...

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How did people believe Aristotle's law of gravity for so long?
5 votes

The assumption that people believed Aristotle’s law for so long is highly questionable. Aristotle’s law occurs in a philosophical context. He introduces it in order to argue that there can be no such ...

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Why did the ancients believe celestial matter was of a different type than terrestrial matter?
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5 votes

One argument is that terrestrial objects are made up of the four elements earth, water, air, fire, and out of these the first two are "heavy" elements whose natural motion is rectilinear motion toward ...

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Robert Hooke and the Inverse Square Law
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5 votes

Hooke did propose the inverse square law to Newton, and even the program of ”compounding the celestiall motions of the planetts of a direct motion by the tangent & an attractive motion towards the ...

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Earliest Instances of a Slope/Direction Field for a First-Order ODE
4 votes

Johann Bernoulli explains the idea of a direction field quite explicitly (Modus generalis construendi omnes aequationes differentiales primi gradus, Acta Eruditorum, November 1694). He focusses on ...

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Suggestions for hosting a Scientific Salon of Paris in Émilie du Châtelet's time
3 votes

One popular type of salon amusement was spectacular scientific experiments such as sending electric shocks through a line of people holding hands, tricking spiders into eating anything, making ...

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Straightedge and compass
3 votes

“Geometry … teaches us the use of the rule and compasses.” Vitruvius, De architectura I.1.4. “I describe a circle with the compass. … With the straight ruler I set to work to inscribe a square within ...

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What was the mechanical principle of Leibniz's "integraph"?
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3 votes

Leibniz did indeed describe a mechanism for tracing the solution to any differential equation of the form dy/dx=f(x) using tractional motion. For a detailed explanation, see Viktor Blåsjö, The myth of ...

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An English translation of Simon Stevin's De Thiende
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2 votes

An old English translation is available on Google Books (or in transcribed form here). The Dictionary of Scientific Biography entry for Stevin lists several translations in its bibliography.

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Historical knowledge of Distance of Earth from Sun
2 votes

Aristarchus showed how to determine the relative distances and sizes of earth, sun and moon based on eclipses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozuEb_qLNys But the fact the sun is so far away that its ...

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Was the word 'gravity' an invention of Newton?
2 votes

Gravity meant weight or heaviness before Newton. Thus Newton writes: “That force by which the moon is held back in its orbit is that very force which we usually call ‘gravity’.” (Principia, Book III, ...

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