Linné on line Mathematics in Linnaeus’ time
Mathematics in Linnaeus’ time
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the advent of a new mathematics that was to revolutionize our view of the world. Linnaeus probably had no knowledge of this mathematics, but his logical classification of plants, animals, and stones in a systematic order came at a time when other theoreticians were attempting to bring order to astronomy, mechanics, and optics, for example. By knowing how to express geometric curves using algebraic expressions, mathematicians determined the orbits of planets, calculated curve lengths and areas, and demonstrated theoretically how a perfect lens could be crafted. The founders of this new mathematics were numerous, but the primary 17th-century figures were Newton and Leibniz. They developed infinitesimal calculus, a theory about how to count using infinitely small quantities, so-called infinitesimals.
The first and most accomplished practitioner of infinitesimal calculus in Sweden during the 18th century was Samuel Klingenstierna.
Author of Swedish original: Staffan Rodhe
English translation: Donald MacQueen