History of Calculus

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History of Calculus

The history of calculus falls into several distinct time periods, most notably the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The ancient period introduced some of the ideas of integral calculus, but does not seem to have developed these ideas in a rigorous or systematic way. Calculating volumes and areas, the basic function of integral calculus, can be traced back to the Egyptian Moscow papyrus (c. 1800 BC), in which an Egyptian successfully calculated the volume of a pyramidal frustum.[1][2] From the school of Greek mathematics, Eudoxus (c. 408−355 BC) used the method of exhaustion, which prefigures the concept of the limit, to calculate areas and volumes while Archimedes (c. 287−212 BC) developed this idea further, inventing heuristics which resemble integral calculus.[3] The method of exhaustion was later used in China by Liu Hui in the 3rd century AD in order to find the area of a circle. It was also used by Zu Chongzhi in the 5th century AD, who used it to find the volume of a sphere.[2]

In AD 499 the Indian mathematician Aryabhata used the notion of infinitesimals and expressed an astronomical problem in the form of a basic differential equation.[4] This equation eventually led Bhāskara II in the 12th century to develop an early derivative representing infinitesimal change, and he described an early form of "Rolle's theorem".[5] Around AD 1000, the Islamic mathematician Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) was the first to derive the formula for the sum of the fourth powers, and using mathematical induction, he developed a method that is readily generalizable to finding the formula for the sum of any integral powers, which was fundamental to the development of integral calculus.[6] In the 12th century, the Persian mathematician Sharaf al-Din al-Tusi discovered the derivative of cubic polynomials, an important result in differential calculus.[7] In the 14th century, Madhava of Sangamagrama, along with other...
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