Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was born on July 1st 1646 in Leipzig, Saxony to Friedrich Leibniz and Catharina Schmuck. Leibniz’s father had been a Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Leipzig and Leibniz inherited his father’s personal library. He was given free access to it from the age of seven after his death of his father. His great-grandfather and grandfather held honourable offices under government. At a very early age, when he was twelve, Leibniz mastered Latin and Greek languages. By the age of twenty, he mastered books on mathematics, philosophy, theology and law. As he was very intelligent and brilliant, he entered the University of Leipzig at the age of fourteen. He had a great passion to build a thinking device. Leibniz is often known as the founder of symbolic logic as he developed the universal characteristic, a symbolic language in which any item of information can be represented in a natural and systematic way.
It was with the influence of a conversation he had with Huygens, Leibniz started to gather in depth knowledge on geometry. In the year 1671, Leibniz expanded Pascal’s addition by inventing multiplication. He calculated through repeated addition and shifting and devised a calculating machine called as the Step Reckoner. The Step Reckoner used the decimal numbers for calculation. It was based on the principle of the kicked tinbox or the staffelwalsprincipe. A wheal on the right side registered a number between 0 and 9. To add up another number, you have to put the slide on that number and you turn the tinbox one time around. The number of the little cogs is the same as the chosen number. That’s why the wheel at the right side adds up exactly that number.
In the year 1674, he invented the differential calculus and integral calculus.Leibniz was the rest to use the integral sign, in the year 1675. He used to denote the differential calculus. He also constructed the triangulum characteristicum. In 1679, he perfected the notation for integration and differentiation that everyone is still using today.
He also invented the binary arithmetic which still serves as the base for computations in every computer. Leibniz was very keen on the accuracy in the calculation done through this new mode of 2 digit numbers.
Between the years from 1682 to 1692, he published several mathematical papers which had a great recognition among people those days. Leibniz had not succeeded in creating a calculator that worked properly, but he had invented his Leibniz wheel, the principle of a two motion mechanical calculator. A Leibniz wheel or stepped drum was a cylinder with a set of teeth of incremental lengths which, when coupled to a counting wheel, was used in the calculating engine of a class of mechanical calculators.
He invented the first antitheft device, very effective, but not particularly handy, since it weighed 43kgs and it was built together with the bicycle itself. He also invented the first braking device, composed by a leadanchor weighing about 60kgs. Leibniz enunciated the principal properties of conjunction, disjunction, negation, identity, set inclusion, and the empty set. He made important discoveries in the fields of mathematics, physicists, geology, life sciences and paleontology, psychology and sociology. That’s possibly the reason, some people to call him the last universal mind of the mankind.
Leibniz died on November 14, 1716 at the age of 70 in Hanover, Electorate of Hanover, Holy Roman Empire.