Date: | Wednesday, December 6, 2017 |
Speaker: | Prof. Rob Bradley
Department of Matheamtics and Computer Science Adelphi University Email: bradley AT iadelphi DOT edu |
Title: | Jean D'Alembert Tercentennary |
Abstract: |
November 17 was the three-hundredth birthday of Jean Le Rond d'Alembert (1717-1783). The illegitimate child of aristocrats, he was abandoned at birth at a church in Paris. Nevertheless, he rose to international prominence in both mathematical and literary circles.
D'Alembert mastered the differential and integral calculus as it was practiced in Continental Europe during the first half of the 18th century and introduced a number of important innovations of his own to the field. However, one of his most valuable and lasting contributions to the development of analysis was his role as an early champion of the limit concept, as opposed to the doctrine of infinitely small quantities, in providing "the true metaphysics of the differential calculus." In this talk, we will consider d'Alembert's arguments for this approach to the foundations of calculus, primarily as given in Diderot's Encyclopédie. |