626: Newton and Leibniz

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Newton and Leibniz


First and foremost Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz both developed calculus independently of each other, as the comic says, about 8 years apart. However, Newton disputed the fact that Leibniz invented calculus independently of him.

In calculus a derivative is the result of mathematical differentiation: the instantaneous rate of change of a function relative to its argument, and denoted df(x)/dx. Another way to think of the derivative is as a plot of all the slopes of lines tangent to the graph of a function. However, the literary word derivative means developed from something older.

The pun is that Newton is claiming that Leibniz's mathematical derivative is a derivative, or descendant, from his earlier development of this calculus.

The comic as a whole is mocking the pattern of corny one-liners that David Caruso often spurts out during the opening scenes of CSI: Miami. The one liner is followed by him dramatically pulling off his sunglasses and then the show breaks into the title sequence which starts with the word "YEEEEAAAAAAAH." This has become a popular Internet meme and was used frequently with Michael Jackson's death.


Newton, 1666
[Newton with long white hair holds up a sheet of paper.]
Newton: I've invented calculus!
Leibniz, 1674
[Leibniz with long black hair holds up a sheet of paper.]
Leibniz: I've invented calculus!
Newton: Really? Sounds a little bit...
[Newton puts on a pair of sunglasses.]
Newton: ...Derivative.
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Is the "break-out sunglasses" a theme on xkcd now?--Classhole 02:38, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

"dramatically pulling off his sunglasses" ?? I'm fairly certain I've never seen the show much less one of these bits, but I thought I understood him to typically be putting on his sunglasses (?) -- Brettpeirce (talk) 14:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
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