Authorised form of nameLeibniz; Gottfried Wilhelm von (1646 - 1716); mathematician and natural philosopher
Other forms of surnamevon Leibniz
Dates1646 - 1716
Place of birthLeipzig, Electorate of Saxony, [modern day Germany], Europe
Date of birth1 July 1646
Place of deathHanover, Electorate of Hanover, [modern day Germany], Europe
Date of death14 November 1716
Dates and placesBaptism:
St Nicholas' Church, Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony [modern day German], Europe (3 July 1646)
OccupationCivil servant
Research fieldMathematics
Nicolai School; Leipzig (admitted 1661); Jena (admitted 1663); Altdorf (LLD 1666)
Employed by the Elector Johann Philipp von Schonborn of Mainz as an adviser on legal matters (1667); began work on his calculating machine (1671); went on a diplomatic missions to Paris (1672) and London (1673); on the death of the Elector, went to Paris, hoping for a post at the Academie des Sciences, but was disappointed; visited Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (FRS 1680); Adviser and Librarian to the Duke of Hannover (1676); Councillor at the Court of Hannover (1679); travelled through Germany and Italy in order to prepare a genealogy of the house of Brunswick and visited Vincenzo Viviani (FRS 1696) in Florence and Marcello Malpighi (FRS 1665) in Bologna (1687-1689); Privy Councillor in Hannover; in the service of Sophia Charlotte, Electress of Brandenburg (1700); involved in a dispute about calculus with Isaac Newton (FRS 1672)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election09/04/1673
Age at election26
ProposerSir Robert Moray
Other Royal Society activityCorrespondent to Henry Oldenburg on mathematics, incl. his calculating machine
RelationshipsParents: Friedrich Leibniz and Katharina Schmuck
General contextThroughout his career, Leibniz was in regular correspondence or collaboration with many Fellows of the Society, e.g. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (FRS 1665) or Marcello Malpighi (FRS 1667). He published papers on quadratures and his method of differentiation and integration, as well as works on law, ethics, and politics. He is probably most well-known for his involvement in the Newton-Leibniz controversy regarding the origin of calculus. The general consensus was that Leibniz had not in fact discovered calculus independently of Newton and so much of his work on mathematics and physics was not held in high regard towards the end of his life. His reputation, particularly as a philosopher, improved posthumously.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library

Leibniz P0080.jpg

Bulloch's Roll; DSB
Sir Alan Cook, 'The 350th Anniversary of the Birth of G W Leibniz, FRS' in NR 1996 vol 50 pp 153-163, plate
Milo Keynes, 'The Personality of Isaac Newton' in NR 1995 vol 49 pp 1-56
Derek Massarella, 'Philip Henry Zollman, the Royal Society's First Assistant Secretary for Foreign Correspondence' in NR 1992 vol 46 pp 219-234
D T Whiteside, 'The Prehistory of the Principia from 1664 to 1686' in NR 1991 vol 45 pp 11-61
G J Whitrow, 'Newton's Role in the History of Mathematics' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 71-92
E A Fellmann, 'The Principia and Continental Mathematicians' in NR 1988 vol 42 pp 13-34
Marie Boas Hall, 'The Royal Society's Role in the Diffusion of Information in the Seventeenth Century' in NR 1974-5 vol 29 pp 173-192
Joan L Hawes, 'Newton's Revival of the Aether Hypothesis and the Explanation of Gravitational Attraction' in NR 1968 vol 23 pp 200-212
R E W Maddison, 'Studies in the Life of Robert Boyle, FRS. Part IV. Robert Boyle and Some of his Foreign Visitors' in NR 1954-55 vol 11 pp 38-53
M Greenwood, 'The First Life Table' in NR 1938 vol 1 pp 70-72
R Lewis, 'The publication of John Wilkins's Essay (1668): some contextual considerations' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp133-146
M V Wilkes, 'Charles Babbage and his world' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 353-365
J S Rowlinson, 'Le Sage's Essai de chymie mechanique' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 35-45
A Cook, 'Rome and the Royal Society, 1660-1740' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 3-19
P Fara, 'Theatrical Science. C Djerassi and D Pinner, Newton's darkness: two dramatic views' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 237-238
M Bailey Ogilvie, 'In her place. Pandora's breeches: women, science and power in the enlightenment, by P Fara' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 314-315
Old Style has his birth date as 21 June 1646.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8450
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/002707Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm vonnd
MM/10/88"Precis on certain evidence affecting the moral character of Leibnitz, said to be in the Archives of the Royal Society", by CM Ingleby16 December 1879
EL/L5/104Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Dethlevus Cluverus9 March 1680
MM/17/21Letter from E Gerland to the Royal Society26 October 1882
MS/427/303Copy letter from [Michael] Foster, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Dr. Wilson27 October 1883
MM/17/20Letter from E Gerland to the Royal Society5 August 1882
MM/17/22Letter from RA Smith to Walter White28 October 1882
MM/17/15Letter from Cecil J Monro to the Royal Society12 June 1880
P/0080Portrait of Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
CMB/2/26Statutes Committee1878
NLB/19/740Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Herrn Dr Moritz Cantor, Heidelberg6 December 1899
MS/81Original letters printed in 'Commercium Epistolicum Domini Johannis Collins et Aliorum'1669-1677
LBO/4/26Copy letter from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Moguntiae, to Mr Oldenburg23 August 1670
LBO/6/12Copy letter from Gottfried William Leibniz, London, to the Royal Society20 February 1673
LBO/6/29Copy letter from Henry Oldenburg to William Gottfired Leibniz1673
LBO/7/84Copy letter from Henry Oldenburg, London, to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz30 September 1675
LBO/7/46Copy letter from Gottfried Wilhelmr Leibniz to Henry Oldenburg15 July 1674
LBO/12/79Copy letter from John Wallis, Oxford, to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz [Leibniz], Hannover29 March 1700
LBO/28/152Copy letter from Dethlevius Cluver, London, to Gottried Wilhelm Leibnitz6 April 1680
EL/W2/71Letter, from John Wallis to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz29 March 1700
EL/H3/63Letter, from Robert Hooke to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz12 July 1680
MM/17/14Letter from CM Ingleby to the Secretary of the Royal Society9 February 1880
IM/002708Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm vonnd
EL/L5/106Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [to the Royal Society], dated at Hanover August 1680
EL/L5/111Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Hans Sloane8 September 1700
EL/L5/107Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Theodore Haak6 January 1681
EL/L5/105Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Dethlevus Cluverus18 May 1680
EL/L5/100Copy of a letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Collins, dated at Hanover12 July 1677
EL/L5/102Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [to the Royal Society]27 June 1678
EL/L5/108Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Isaac Newton, dated at Hanover17 March 1693
EL/L5/99Copy of a letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Collins, dated at Hanover21 June 1677
EL/L5/101Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [to the Royal Society]28 June 1678
EL/L5/103Extract of a letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Theodore HaakFebruary 1680
EL/L5/110Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Hans Sloane, dated at Hanover1700
EL/L5/109Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Hans Sloane, dated at Hanover30 January 1700
EL/S2/14Letter, from Hans Sloane to G[ottfried Wilhelm] Leibniz, dated at London4 July 1700
EL/O2/51Letter, from Henry Oldenburg to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, dated at London12 June 1671
EL/C2/11Letter, from Dethlevus Cluverus to Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, dated at London6 April 1680
EL/L5/113Translation of a letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to John Chamberlayne, dated at Vienna1700
CLP/1/1Paper, 'De resolutione aequationum cubicarum' [On the resolution of cubic equation] by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz[17th century]
CLP/18ii/23Paper, Details of an experiment showing force of moving bodies and velocity by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers[1728]
EL/H3/64Letter, from Robert Hooke to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz15 May 1681
EL/L5/112Letter, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to John Chamberlayne, dated at Vienna28 April 1714
RBO/4/52'Concerning Arithmetick Instruments' brought in by Robert Hooke7 May 1673
AP/29/2Unpublished paper, 'A comparison of the first and second editions of the "Commercium Epistolicum D Johannis Collins et aliorum de analysi promota' by A [Augustus] de Morgan23 November 1846
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