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Embarrassing Moments in the History of Calculus

by

Kim Plofker
Union College

February 15, 2010
4:30 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 in Bailey 204


Abstract:

The development of modern calculus wasn't the smooth transition pictured in today's textbooks, but rather a long struggle between practicality and precision. Handling the tricky quantities known as infinitesimals, which might be zero or not as the situation required, led early modern mathematicians into some awkward contradictions and some vehement disputes. This talk surveys some of the peculiar innovations in calculus that you won't find in your calculus book, and the controversies, shock, and outrage that they provoked in their day.


For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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