The public seems to be under the impression that only contemporary science is driven by competition for first place – a form of Olympics with only a gold meal. In fact, this drive is both nourishment and poison for scientists and has always been fundamental to the workings of their tribal culture. Through the figure of one of the greatest scientists of all time, Isaac Newton, CALCULUS shows that the deviances resulting from such ambition were as pronounced 300 years ago as they are now. The 30-years priority struggle between England’s and Germany’s greatest natural philosophers, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, about who first invented the calculus (integral and differential equations) is particularly noteworthy as it was conducted through their followers. The manipulation of an anonymous committee of eleven Royal Society fellows by its President, Newton, is barely known and is illustrated in CALCULUS through three such followers of Newton: John Arbuthnot (physician to Queen Ann), the well-known French immigrant mathematician Abraham de Moivre, and Louis Frederic Bonet, the King of Prussia’s ambassador to London. In the final analysis, the play answers the question “What does moral integrity have to do with integral calculus?”. By one word: “Plenty.”

Carl Djerassi, in Cálculo, Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 2011


Performances schedule

Premiered on November 17th, at the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra | Sala Carlos Ribeiro. On stage at the same location until December 3rd | from Wed to Sat at 21h30.
Related events

Public talk by Carl Djerassi | “Science in theatre: from the page to the stage”, Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, November 15th, 17h.
Launch of “Cálculo”, by Carl Djerassi, edited by the University of Coimbra Press, with Carl Djerassi, Carlos Fiolhais and Delfim Leão, Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, November 15th, 18h.

-> The choices of Carlos Fiolhais – review for the Portuguese translation of “Calculus” | 01/2012 [content in Portuguese]


Text: Carl Djerassi; Discussion and ideas:  Alexandre Lemos, Andreia Damas, Carlota Simões, Filipe Eusébio, Gil MAC, Helena GFreitas, José Valente, Mário Montenegro, Pedro Andrade, Rui Guerreiro, Rui Simão
Direction and translation: Mário Montenegro; Cast: Andreia Damas (Lady Brasenose), Filipe Eusébio (Vanbrugh/Moivre /Newton), Gil MAC (Cibber/Bonet/Leibniz), Helena GFreitas (Sra. Arbuthnot), Rui Guerreiro (Dr. Arbuthnot);Cenografia, Set Design, costume, props and image: Pedro Andrade; Music and performance: José Valente; Lighting: Rui Simão; Assistência de montagem: Guilherme Barbosa; Photography: Francisca Moreira; Hairstyling: Ilídio Design; Executive production: Lígia Anjos; Cálculo is a production of marionet in 2011.


Direcção-Geral das Artes, Câmara Municipal de Coimbra; Bahlsen, Cafetaria do Museu da Ciência, Coisas Antigas, Fundação Bissaya Barreto, Ilídio Design, JACC, MAFIA – Federação Cultural de Coimbra, Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra, Zé Carioca; Bloco Esquerda, Dolce Vita, Partido Comunista Português, RUC – Rádio Universidade de Coimbra, UCV


Carl Djerassi, Carlos Fiolhais, Carlota Simões