© 2018

The History of the Priority Di∫pute between Newton and Leibniz

Mathematics in History and Culture


  • A thorough description of the priority dispute AND the mathematics of Newton and Leibniz

  • Many figures and pictures

  • Description of the cultural and historical background


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XXVII
  2. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 1-17
  3. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 19-90
  4. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 91-141
  5. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 143-199
  6. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 201-224
  7. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 225-280
  8. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 281-362
  9. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 363-412
  10. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 413-437
  11. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 439-472
  12. Thomas Sonar
    Pages 473-490
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 491-549

About this book


This book provides a thrilling history of the famous priority dispute between Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Isaac Newton, presenting the episode for the first time in the context of cultural history. It introduces readers to the background of the dispute, details its escalation, and discusses the aftermath of the big divide, which extended well into recent times.

One of the unique features of the book is that the mathematics behind the story is very intelligibly explained – an approach that offers general readers interested in the history of sciences and mathematics a window into the world of these two giants in their field. 

From the epilogue to the German edition by Eberhard Knobloch:
Thomas Sonar has traced the emergence and the escalation of this conflict, which was heightened by Leibniz’s rejection of Newton’s gravitation theory, in a grandiose, excitingly written monograph. With absolute competence, he also explains the mathematical context so that non-mathematicians will also profit from the book. Quod erat demonstrandum!

From the reviews for the German language edition

 ….. This book provides a vivid and easy-reading picture of many political and scientific aspects of the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, and constitutes an excellent guide to the existing secondary literature for laymen as well as for specialists….

Stefan Neuwirth in: Zentralblatt MATH 1343 — 1 (1343.01005)

An extremely readable book on one of the most memorable episodes in the history of

sciences. Manfred Jacobi in: Physik in unserer Zeit, Jg. 47, Heft 5, September 2016


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Isaac Newton calculus controversy history of mathematics culture

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Analysis Computational MathematicsTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The History of the Priority Di∫pute between Newton and Leibniz
  • Book Subtitle Mathematics in History and Culture
  • Authors Thomas Sonar
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Birkhäuser, Cham
  • eBook Packages Mathematics and Statistics Mathematics and Statistics (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-72561-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-10226-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-72563-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXVII, 549
  • Number of Illustrations 34 b/w illustrations, 225 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Original German edition published by Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2016
  • Topics History of Mathematical Sciences
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“The reading of this book is recommendable because the precision in describing the most important mathematical aspects behind the dispute Newton-Leibniz, the attentive examination of the protagonists of the story, both from a scientific and a personal-psychological point of view, the thorough description of the relations-net behind such a dispute. Furthermore, the general scenario of this so turbulent and fundamental period for European mathematics and science is well described.” (Paolo Bussotti, zbMATH 1400.01003, 2019)

“The author’s style of writing is vivid, interesting and accessible. Other good features of the book include numerous photographs and illustrations (many in color), and an extensive ten-page, small print, list of references. … I look forward to the publication of other books in this series. … It belongs on the shelf of anybody interested in the history of calculus, and it certainly belongs in any good university library.” (Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews, June, 2018)