Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Infinitesimals
(900 words)

1. Antiquity

In the early modern period, neo-Latin infinitesimalia (“infinitely small things”) and Latin indivisibilia (“indivisible things”) were commonly used in mathematics to denote infinitely small elements of geometrical figures and quantities (see Infinity).

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the study of classical mathematical works inspired numerous mathematicians to engage in determining centroids and volumes of two- and three-dimensional objects (Anal…

Cite this page
Jahnke, Hans Niels, “Infinitesimals”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 21 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_021383>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190124



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