Leibniz’s Theory of Elimination and Determinants
As late as 1938, people doubted whether Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ever dealt with determinants. Thus, Gerhard Kowalewski wrote in 1938: “Strangely, nothing relating to determinants and their application has been found in his (viz. Leibniz’s) manuscripts until now” [19, p. 125]. Later on, Morris Kline, hinting at Leibniz’s often cited letter dating from 1693 to L’Hospital, erroneously wrote in 1972: “The solutions of simultaneous linear equations in two, three, and four unknowns by the method of determinants was created by Maclaurin, probably in 1729, and published in his posthumous Treatise of Algebra (1748)” [8, p. 606].
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