I’ve been curious about Gottfried Leibniz for years, not least because he seems to have wanted to build something like Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha, and perhaps A New Kind of Science as well–though three centuries too early. So when I took a trip recently to Germany, I was excited to be able to visit his archive in Hanover.
Leafing through his yellowed (but still robust enough for me to touch) pages of notes, I felt a certain connection–as I tried to imagine what he was thinking when he wrote them, and tried to relate what I saw in them to what we now know after three more centuries:
Some things, especially in mathematics, are quite timeless. Like here’s Leibniz writing down an infinite series for √2 (the text is in Latin):