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Gottfried Willhelm von Leibniz


German philosopher and mathematician. Leibniz was born in Leipzig, where he attended university from the age of 15, and submitted a thesis for the degree of doctor of law at the age of 20. In 1667 he entered the service of the Elector of Mainz, where he remained until 1672, engaded largely in political writing. He travelled to Paris in 1672, partly to try to persuade Louis XIV to expel the Turks from Egypt, here he also met Malebranche, Arnauld and Huygens. He visited England in 1673, and again in 1676, at which time he had completed the his discovery of the differential calculus. In this year he travelled to Amsterdam and met Spinoza, and became librarian to the Duke of Brunswick at Hannover, a post he held until his death. He worked on among other things hydraulic presses, windmills, lamps, submarines, clocks, carriages and waterpumps. Between 1680 and 1697 he was working on his own system of philosophy. Leibniz was the greatest polymath of modern philosophers, making contributions to mathematics, jurisprudence, and history, as well as philosophy. He corresponded with extensively with all the major learned men of the time, and was the founder of the academy of Berlin. In 1711 he met the russian czar Peter the Great. He died November 14, 1716 in Hannover.


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Last modified August 16, 1995.