Calculus

The play treats the historical controversy between Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Freiherr von Leibniz over the development of the infinitesimal calculus.

Play title:  Calculus (“Newton’s Whores”) 

Author (s):  Carl Djerassi

Publisher: Imperial College Press

Publication Date: 2003 (Imperial College Press)

Genre: Drama

Primary Discipline: Mathematics

Secondary Discipline: Physics

Scientist (s):

John Arbuthnot: a Scottish physician, satirist and polymath in London.

Abraham de Moivre: a French mathematician known for de Moivre’s formula and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: German polymath and philosopher in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy.

Sir Isaac Newton: English mathematician and natural philosopher, he enunciated the laws of motion and gravitation.

Sir John Vanbrugh: an English architect and dramatist, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.

Source Texts:

Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica by Isaac Newton

Opticks by Isaac Newton

Character Breakdown: 7 Men, 2 Women

Colley Cibber, Sir John Vanbrugh, Margaret Arbuthnot, Louis Frederick Bonet, John Arbuthnot, Lady Brasenose, Abraham de Moivre, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Sir Isaac Newton

Setting: London

Time Period: 1712-1731

Synopsis of Play: The play treats the historical controversy between Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Freiherr von Leibniz over the development of the infinitesimal calculus. Its author, Carl Djerassi, tells the story through entertaining dialogues between contemporary witnesses of the Leibniz-Newton conflict. By engaging with the historical controversy, he raises questions that are still valid today: What is inventorship? What does it mean to be an inventor? How do scientists behave towards each other? https://scheringstiftung.de/en/programm/kultur/foerderprojekte/kalkuel-von-carl-djerassi/

First Performance Date: March 8th, 2004

First Producer: Schering AG, Berlin

Performance History: There was a staged reading of the play Calculus with Schering AG, Berlin on March 8th, 2004.

Links:

https://www.maa.org/sites/default/files/pdf/mathdl/MH/Play%20Review.pdf

Entered by: Meaghan Yesford

Photo/Visual Research with citations                

                                       

  2004, Schering AG                                                                             2004, Schering AG

                                       

2004, Schering AG                                                                              2004, Schering AG

                                                  

2004, Schering AG                                                                           2004, Schering AG

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