Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm[liybnits]
Philosopher and mathematician, born in Leipzig, Germany. He studied there and at Altdorf, spent time in Paris and London, and in 1676 became librarian to the Duke of Brunswick at Hanover. He also travelled in Austria and Italy, and went in 1700 to persuade Frederick I of Prussia to found the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, of which he became the first president. A man of remarkable breadth of knowledge, he made original contributions to optics, mechanics, statistics, logic, and probability theory. He conceived the idea of calculating machines, and of a universal language. He wrote on history, law, and political theory, and his philosophy was the foundation of 18th-c Rationalism. He was involved in a controversy with Isaac Newton over whether he or Newton was the inventor of integral and differential calculus; the Royal Society formally declared for Newton in 1711, but the matter was never really resolved. Unpopular with George of Hanover, he was left behind in 1714 when the Elector moved his court to London (as George I). He died in Hanover two years later, without real recognition and with almost all his work unpublished. Probably his greatest influence (eg on Bertrand Russell) was as a mathematician and a pioneer of modern symbolic logic.