The battle over the calculus. Professor Marcus du Sautoy reveals how the great hero of British science is rather less gentlemanly than his German rival. An astronaut and investment analyst pay homage to the enormous power of the calculus.
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The man who calculated as other men breathe. Professor Marcus du Sautoy on the mathematical omnivore without whom no history of mathematics is complete.
"the epic feud between Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz over who invented an astonishingly powerful new mathematical tool: calculus."
We speak to mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, who is replacing Dawkins as chair for the public understanding of science at the University of Oxford
"It captures precisely the things that I love doing," Marcus du Sautoy tells Alok Jha and James Randerson as he prepares to take up the post of Simonyi chair for the public understanding of science at the University of Oxford in December.
"One is high-level science … and the other is communicating it. It gives me the brief to do the two things that I love doing." Accordingly, du Sautoy will continue to pursue his passion for prime numbers, number theory and group theory as professor of mathematics at Oxford.
Earlier in October he came into the studio to talk about The Story of Maths, a series of films he has made for BBC4 where he travels the globe looking for the roots of his subject.
As the new chair for the public understanding of science he will be stepping into the boots of Richard Dawkins, but he insists he won’t be pursuing his predecessor’s anti-religious agenda. "I’m bracing myself for people asking me whether I believe in god. I’m an atheist, but for me the important thing is the wonder of science. There are so many exciting things to talk about. My focus is going to be very much on the science and less on religion."