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Chameleon Graphing

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New Words, New Notation

By the middle of the 1600s, all of the concepts involved in coordinate graphing had been discovered. But they hadn't just been discovered: they had also been published. Coordinate graphing was becoming well known. From here on, people were working out the details of graphing. These details included names for different parts of a graph, and new notation or ways of writing math. People also had to become more comfortable with negative numbers. Descartes and Fermat had avoided negative numbers, or left them out altogether.

The next advances in coordinate graphing would come from two people that we usually think of as the inventors of calculus: Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried von Leibniz. Calculus involves studying functions and curves, so they had to know a lot about graphing to invent it!

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