New Delhi: Google is celebrating the 372nd birthday of German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz with a doodle.
Leibniz occupies a prominent place in the history of mathematics, having developed differential and integral calculus independently of Isaac Newton. His notation has been widely used ever since it was published.
In addition, the German philosopher's Law of Continuity and Transcendental Law of Homogeneity found mathematical implementation (by means of non-standard analysis) in the 20th century.
While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator.
He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of virtually all digital computers.
In philosophy, Leibniz is most noted for his conclusion that our Universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created, an idea that was often lampooned by others such as Voltaire.
The German philosopher, along with Rene Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th-century advocates of rationalism. Not only did his work anticipate modern logic and analytic philosophy, his philosophy looked back to the scholastic tradition, in which conclusions were produced by applying reason to first principles or prior definitions rather than to empirical evidence.
Leibniz made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in philosophy, probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. He wrote works on philosophy, politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology.
While serving as overseer of the Wolfenbüttel library in Germany, he devised a cataloging system that would serve as a guide for many of Europe's largest libraries.
Leibniz's contributions to this vast array of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters, and in unpublished manuscripts.
The noted philosopher died in Hanover in 1716 at the age of 70.