Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – The Life of a Philosopher, Scientist, And Mathematician

Understanding the greatest of mysteries in life came naturally with the encyclopedic educated personality Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. He was a mechanic, physicist, lawyer, historian, diplomat, theologian, a scientist, and primarily a philosopher who had vast discoveries in the areas of science and philosophy. This man was born on June 21st (July 1st) 1646 in the place of Leipzig in Germany. He was known to be the first Founder and the President of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and even he was also a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences.

He was not only active in science but also in various sections of mathematics. From formulas to intricate mathematical derivations, it is not surprising to view Leibniz’s name in Algebra textbooks of children.  Unfortunately, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz did not receive enough names and fame for his good works but lately, his name became immortal and thus he is now a fundamental aid for a few future generations to come.


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s Youthful Years of Life


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was exactly born at the Lower Saxony of Hannover in Germany. He grew up in a professor’s family who was not much far away from the philosophical ways of living. They had their origins from the Serbo-Luzhsk hereditary and therefore for 12 years, he was given a vast knowledge about the world and made his position as a public moral professor. Gottfried was seen as a god-driven child as he was showing his intelligence to a high level of genius and was viewed as a child prodigy. His father lately had confidence that his scion would one day become a scientist in some field.

The young boy Gottfried expressed love to kinds of literature and he grew up reading so many books from various historical events to an understanding of great knights and brave kings. Sadly his father rested in peace at Gottfried’s very young age of 7; but the boy was not alone, as he was left with a huge library. He read everything from the Cicero, Plato, Seneca, to the Pliny.

The young scientist then did his education in the Leipzig school of St. Thomas where he executed his high level of mental abilities to his teachers. From solving mathematical problems to comprehending the literary works, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was truly intelligent in his skill sets. On the Holy Day of the Trinity, his disciple who was about to give a prestigious speech became ill suddenly and eventually, these works were given responsibility to Gottfried. He managed to compose all of his works in Latin overnight. He even composed a whole poem with 5 dactyls, achieving the required sounds. His teachers thus saw a 13-year-old boy’s future as a scientist.

As he grew up, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz at his 14 years (15) became fond of science and philosophy when he did his education at the University of Leipzig. He got inspired by the works of Galileo and Kepler. The young man was later transferred to the University of Jena where he did studies in-depth in mathematics. He even got involved so well in Jurisprudence. Gottfried got his Bachelor’s degree in 1663 and a year for a Master’s degree in Philosophy.


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Personal Life of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


The character evaluation of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was difficult to understand, as there is always some form of unpredictability about the way a scientist behaves. This way, Gottfried was seen as boring, unpleasant, and as a dull person to some people and others judged him as a fun, out-going, and active kind of personality.

Gottfried was a person of high humanity and positivity since he was a philosopher and was mostly optimistic about things. When once in a clash with Sir Isaac Newton, Gottfried still remained calm and did not open up for any sort of bad motive or word for his opponent. Still, with his personal acceptance, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was sometimes greedy and stingy. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a neatly dressed person who was seen with a black wig as it was a followed fashion at that time. The scientist was not picky in his food and rarely had his part of the wine. Still, he loves to mix sugar in it as he was a person who loved sweets more.

Most of his notable relationships in Gottfried’s literature were seen amorously with science. He still managed to have a warm relationship with the Prussian Queen named Sophia Charlotte of Hanover. Their relationship did not go beyond platonic. Unfortunately, Sophia expired in the year 1705, and from then Gottfried hasn’t imagined any woman who could touch his heart directly like the Queen.


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Paris and Hanover Times of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


In the year 1669, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz wrote a book named ‘Reflections on the theme of public safety’, where he notes about the protection to be given for Germany’s borders and the formation of a new union of German Monarchies. He also suggested that the European nations should not lose themselves in the internecine wars and instead, try to conquer the non-Christian world and simultaneously join to Egypt inside the lands of France.   After this book’s publication, on February 2-1672, he was sent to Paris by the invitation from Simon Arnaud de Pomponn, who was the French state adviser at that time. France achieving great political powers was already well-established in mathematics and sciences which had a great impact over the minds of the scientist. Being in Mains, Gottfried though about his causal relationship with the old and contemporary methods of philosophy, and thus he had his reflections personally as a letter to Jacob Tomazi, where he presented the mechanical ideas of nature given as in size, movements, and form respectively.



Before leaving Paris, Gottfried established a calculating machine which did addition, subtraction, multiplications, divisions, and even the extraction of mathematical roots of numbers on its own. This innovation was presented before the Royal Society in London and the Paris Academy of Sciences. From this invention, Gottfried was accepted as a member of the Royal Society in 1673.

After his 1676 trip to London, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz lands up in Hannover. This was the trip that Newton had accused of the man for theft of his unpublished work of calculus-based upon infinitesimal. Gottfried stayed at The Hague in Hannover, where he met with Leeuwenhoek who was also a scientist discovering the existence of microorganisms. Privy Counselor of Justice was taken the position by Gottfried which he occupied for the rest of his life. He later becomes a historian, a curator of the ducal library and also as a political adviser in the Duchy of Brunsvik. He answered for questions in his writings primarily based upon politics, theology, and history at this time.



Most Important Scientific Achievements of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


  • Mathematical Logics were laid foundations from the ideas of Gottfried.


  • He discovered combinatorics as science and according to E. T. Bell Gottfried was the only person to both equally work with continuous and discrete functions.


  • The binary number system of 0 and 1 was from this scientist.


  • The concept of ‘Living Force’ in mechanics was given by Gottfried, which was a prototype of the new kinetic energy. He even formulated the world famous law of conversation of energy.


  • Theory of small perceptions as unconscious mental life in psychology was given by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.  


  • Gottfried was the first person to view a relationship with linguistic problems and genealogy. This paved the way for giving a scientific lexicon for his genealogical classification in natural sciences.


  • He was the person who introduced the idea about the integrity of organic systems. Also, the principle of the irreducibility of organics to a mechanical one, along with the development of earth’s evolution was given by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.


  • The basics of Gottfried’s metaphysics are derived all from the ways of Monads termed Monadology, which was completely distinguished in its concepts by him.


  • Acta Eruditorum, the famous Scientific Journal of 1682, was written by Gottfried which played a vital role in the dissemination of science in that location.


  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was keenly interested in the geography of Russia and thus he did practical science research about the uniqueness of the place as taking earth’s magnetic field into consideration.


  • In the year 1695, Gottfried introduced the exponential function of the form- u ^ v, which was later studied as calculus by Johann Bernoulli.


  • Along with Johann Bernoulli in the year 1702, Gottfried had discovered the way of decomposition of the rational fractions for the sum to their simplest.


Philosophical Works of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


One of Gottfried’s main philosophical writings was about concepts like- Monadology, Discourse on Metaphysics, New Experiments on the Human Mind, New System of Nature, and Theodicy. The entire life history of Gottfried has seen so many influential works on philosophical projects, especially after the years of 1670. He had sought to proceed with the ‘Algebraization’ of all human skills and knowledge by constructing a universal “Philosophical Calculus” that permits to solve the most difficult of problems with simple arithmetic operations.

The idea of Philosophical Calculus must provide support for both the formalization of already existing knowledge and also to the discovery of new truths, also through the determination of the degree of probability for all empirical hypotheses. The fore idea of philosophical calculus is concerned by the Art of Characterization, meaning the search for symbols. The sketch of symbols according to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is thought in the form of numbers or hieroglyphs. These are thus corresponding to the essence of all things and it can substitute them in real cognition.

The progeny of Brunswick Leibniz had well served for forty years, having to be survived for the ruling of three crown princes. Thus, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz falls into the political environment, is determined by the dynastic aims for the German state. He devotes this time to mental studies of areas like physics, natural science, logic, and philosophy- perfecting his work on calculus and other questions of mathematics. In the year 1674, he began to work on calculus and by 1677 Gottfried had represented his own consistent method, which had been published only in 1684. He had greatly improved upon his mathematical, philosophical and scientific reputation. Elector Ernst August, for proving the legitimacy of the dynastic goals of the Brunsvik family, had instructed Gottfried to write about the history of their house. Thus he started the search for some archrivals from the years of 1687 to 1690. Searching for these documents, he traveled to Germany, Italy, and Austria. In the year 1708, an article by John Cale was published in the scientific journal of the Royal Society, in which he had accused Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz of plagiarizing the ideas of Isaac Newton. For the last 30 years of his life, Leibniz had dealt with major questions arising in theology, history, mathematics, politics, science, jurisprudence, and philosophy.


Death of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


November 14th of the year 1916 was the day when Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz went unwell from some medication, and due to the health deterioration, he had passed away. It was stated that he was already having issues as Gout and Rheumatism alongside with poor eyesight. Since he was involved inside so many quarrels of Philosophy, only his personal assistant had been in this scholar’s funeral. His love for reading was profoundly visible even during his old ages and he is always a genius in everyone’s life.

Thanks to this genius Gottfried for the unprecedented human discoveries, without who we would be not be enjoying the boons of our contemporary living.


Interesting Facts about Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz


  • Gottfried was the person who introduced the term ‘Model’. He even gave theories on the machine modeling functions of the human brain.


  • The theory of Monadology was given in 3 different stages by Gottfried: The Lower Stage; Middle Level; and the Higher Monads.


  • In the year 1883, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was erected with a statue for his discoveries in Leipzig, and thus he was the first German civilian to receive such an honour. Even the Natural History at Oxford University, Gottingen, in London also had the statues of Gottfried.  


  • In the year 1966, the German commemorative had issued coins of 5 marks in remembrance with the great scholar Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz’s 250th death anniversary.  


  • THEORIA CUM PRAXI-meaning theory in practice is the inscription given circled to the portrait of Gottfried present in a 10 euros silver coin, given by the Bank of Germany, in order to honour the 60th anniversary of the University of Leipzig in 2009.


  • A crater and the highest mountain range on the moon were named in honouring Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.


  • There are a few mathematical objects that are named after Gottfried: Leibniz sign, Leibniz series, Leibniz formula, Newton-Leibniz formula, Leibniz formula for a median of Tetrahedron, and Leibniz formula for the differential equation of integral variables respectively.


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was the pioneer of what is now termed as Topology in Mathematics.


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