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Amir Alexander teaches history at UCLA. He is the author of Geometrical Landscapes and Duel at Dawn. His work has been featured in Nature, the Guardian, among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
On August 10, 1632, five leading Jesuits convened in a sombre Roman palazzo to pass judgment on a simple idea: that a continuous line is composed of distinct and limitlessly tiny parts. The doctrine would become the foundation of calculus, but on that fateful day the judges ruled that it was forbidden. With the stroke of a pen they set off a war for the soul of the modern world.