

Leonhard Euler at 300

History; Posted on: 20070415 21:53:28 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]

Swiss mathematics genius born April 15, 1707
From "A Short Account of the History of Mathematics" (4th edition, 1908) by W. W. Rouse Ball.
Leonhard Euler was born at Bāle on April 15, 1707, and died at St. Petersburg on September 7, 1783. he was the son of a Lutheran minister who had settled at Bāle, and was educated in his native town under the direction of John Bernoulli, with whose sons Daniel and Nicholas he formed a lifelong friendship. When, in 1725, the younger Bernoullis went to Russia, on the invitation of the empress, they procured a place there for Euler, which in 1733 he exchanged for the chair of mathematics, then vacated by Daniel Bernoulli. The severity of the climate affected his eyesight, and in 1735 he lost the use of one eye completely. In 1741 he moved to Berlin at the request, or rather command, of Frederick the Great; here he stayed till 1766, when he returned to Russia, and was succeeded at Berlin by Lagrange. Within two or three years of his going back to St. Petersburg he became blind; but in spite of this, and although his house, together with many of his papers, were burnt in 1771, he recast and improved most of his earlier works. He died of apoplexy in 1783. He was married twice.
I think we may sum up Euler's work by saying that he created a good deal of analysis, and revised almost all the branches of pure mathematics which were then known, filling up the details, adding proofs, and arranging the whole in a consistent form. Such work is very important, and it is fortunate for science when it fall into hands as competent as those of Euler.
Euler wrote an immense number of memoirs on all kinds of mathematical subjects. His chief works, in which many of the results of earlier memoirs are embodied, are as follows.
In the first place, he wrote in 1748 his Introductio in Analysin Infinitorum, which was intended to serve as an introduction to pure analytical mathematics. This is divided into two parts.
The first part of the Analysis Infinitorum contains the bulk of the matter which is to be found in modern textbooks on algebra, theory of equations, and trigonometry. In the algebra he paid particular attention to the expansion of various functions in series, and to the summation of given series; and pointed out explicitly that an infinite series cannot be safely employed unless it is convergent. In the trigonometry, much of which is founded on F. C. Mayer's Arithmetic of Sines, which had been published in 1727, Euler developed the idea of John Bernoulli, that the subject was a branch of analysis and not a mere appendage of astronomy or geometry.
Continue

News Source: W. W. Rouse Ball

