In Europe, two key mathematicians – Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz – were competing for dominance regarding who was the inventor of Calculus. In the late 17th century, Bernoulli, a friend of Leibniz, attempted to challenge the mathematicians around the world to solve two complex problems based on Calculus.
In a letter from Leibniz to Bernoulli, Leibniz had stated that it would take him more than six months to solve the problem and asked for an extension.
Meanwhile, in England, Newton is known to have solved both the problems in a short span of 12 hours after he received Bernoulli’s challenge. Even though both mathematicians solved the problems, Newton had his work published anonymously as he suspected that it was all a ploy by Leibniz’s defenders. When Bernoulli announced the winners of the contest, he named Leibniz, l’Hopital and recognized Newton’s contribution publicly with the sentence “tanquam ex ungue leonem,” Latin for “we know the lion by his claw.”
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