And the Google Doodle goes to... Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz!

I admit it: I had never heard of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz until this morning when Google decided to provide the late (obviously) 17th century mathematician with what I like to think of as our highest civilian honor: the Google Doodle.

His 372nd birthday would have been today. Google found the occasion auspicious enough to replace its regular logo with one of its "fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists."

Here's what I know about Leibniz: 

"Leibniz clashed with Isaac Newton over the invention of calculus. Historians now believe that the two men discovered calculus independently, though it's Leibniz's elegant and compact notation system, not Newton's clunkier version, that we use today."

I got a C+ in calculus, and I really don't remember much of it. That's probably part of why I write articles like this one. But I think we can give credit here to Dan Falk, who wrote the passage above in Slate two years ago--long before the Google Doodle.

But Google Doodles, almost no matter what they're about, spark an instant flurry of writing online. That's because all of us who write depend one way or another on attracting an audience: and thanks to Google, there is suddenly a ton of traffic from people looking up who was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. 

Google Doodles are funny. It's hard to predict what the powers that be at Google will deem doodle-worthy. 

And they've prompted me to learn about some interesting people I probably wouldn't have known otherwise. Hannah Glass and John Harrison, to cite some recent examples.

But Google Doodles are sometimes controversial (what isn't these days?) for what they don't feature as much as for what they do. Most often cited: Google's 2013 Doodle that celebrated Cezar Chavez, whose birthday happened to fall on Easter.

For 12 out of the last 18 years on July 1 (by my count), Google featured Doodles about Canada Day. (That's Canada's equivalent of the 4th of July, which falls on July 1. It probably has something to do with the metric system.)

But this year: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Enjoy your 372nd birthday. Or as you might put it, assumin this website is correct: "101110100."