Isaac Barrow

Isaac Barrow was born in London, England in October of 1630. He died May 4, 1677, also in London, England. He attended Cambridge University where he was recognized for his hard study habits and his unique work with tangents and optics. After university he left the country and travelled around Europe, only to return back to his home-land for a job at his former university. There, Barrow sat on as a chair member and published two amazing mathematical works. The first was on geometry and the second on optics.
Barrow’s greatest discovery was the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, which specifies the relationship between the two central operations of calculus, differentiation and integration. The first part of the theorem shows that indefinite integration can be reversed by differentiation. The second part allows one to compute the definite integral of a function by using one of its infinitely many antiderivatives. One equation that Barrow came up with was:


Isaac Barrow was one of Isaac Newton’s first mentors. He paved the path for many of Newton’s publishing’s, mostly in the field of optics. In 1669 he resigned, to be taken over by his successor, Newton, who many had said was his “ only superior in English mathematics.” Barrow was the first person to calculate the tangents of the Kappa curve. Another interesting fact about Isaac Barrow is that there is a crater on the moon named after him.

Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London, J.M. Dent & sons; New York, E.P. Dutton.

O'Connor, John J; Edmund F. Robertson Isaac Barrow.MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive.

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