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Leonhard Euler

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Title: Leonhard Euler


1
Leonhard Euler
2
Leonhard Euler
Leonhard Euler was born on April 15, 1707 in
Basel, Switzerland. He was the son of Paul Euler
and Margaret Brucker. Paul was a Protestant
minister. A year after Leonhards birth, Paul
moved his family to Riehen, Switzerland, a suburb
of Basel.
3
Eulers father wanted him to follow his footsteps
into the ministry to become a Protestant
minister. Leonhard was sent to school in Basel
where he lived with his maternal grandmother.
The school was very poor and did not offer any
mathematical education to the young Euler. His
father, however, had taught him the basics of
mathematics while living at home. Paul Euler had
studied theology at the University of Basel where
he attended the lectures of Jacob Bernoulli.
Paul had even lived in Jacobs house with the
younger Bernoulli, Johann. Thus Leonhards
father had some knowledge in mathematics and
imparted this wisdom onto his young son.
Leonhard liked the subject so much that he read
mathematical textbooks and took private lessons
in mathematics.
4
In 1720, at the age of 14, Leonhard was sent by
his father to the University of Basel to prepare
himself for ministry. Here his mathematical
intuition was discovered by his fathers old
friend, Johann Bernoulli. Euler is quoted from
an unpublished autobiography saying ... I soon
found an opportunity to be introduced to a famous
professor Johann Bernoulli. True, he was very
busy and so refused flatly to give me private
lessons but he gave me much more valuable advice
to start reading more difficult mathematical
books on my own and to study them as diligently
as I could if I came across some obstacle or
difficulty, I was given permission to visit him
freely every Sunday afternoon and he kindly
explained to me everything I could not understand
... After three years at the University,
Leonhard began his theological studies. Despite
being a Christian, he did not enjoy the study of
theology as much as mathematics. Johann
Bernoulli assisted Leonhard in persuading his
father to allow him to change his studies from
theology to mathematics.
5
In 1726, Euler finished his mathematical studies
at the University of Basel. He was already in
the process of publishing a few papers and
articles of mathematics. In 1727, his submission
of a paper on the best arrangement for a mast on
a ship got him second place for the 1727 Grand
Prize of the Paris Academy. When Nicolaus
Bernoulli died in St. Petersburg, the nineteen
year old Euler was offered his position at the
St. Petersburg Academy. At the time, Euler was
hoping for a physics position at the University
of Basel, but after he failed to get this job, he
went to St. Petersburg. Euler was appointed to
the mathematical-physical division of the Academy
instead of the physiology position that Nicolaus
Bernoullis death had left vacant. This was at
the requests of Daniel Bernoulli, an applied
mathematician, and Jakob Hermann, a relative and
geometer. Daniel and Leonhard were both
interested in applied mathematics.
6
In 1733, Daniel Bernoulli, who held the senior
chair of mathematics at the Academy, left to
return to Basel. Leonhard was appointed to the
position. His better financial situation allowed
him to marry Katharina Gsell. The two would have
thirteen children together. At this point in his
life, Euler had done work in the following
mathematical areas number theory differential
equations and the calculus of variations and
rational mechanics. Euler considered these
three fields connected. In both 1738 and 1740,
Euler won the Grand Prize of the Paris Academy.
His reputation had grown at this point and he was
asked by Frederick the Great to work at the
Academy of Science in Berlin. Euler spent
twenty-five years in Berlin, where he wrote
around 380 articles.
In 1766, Euler returned to St. Petersburg. At
this time, Eulers already existing eye problem
became worse from a sickness and became
completely blind in both eyes. Despite his new
disability, Euler continued to write almost half
of his entire works at this point of his life.
On September 18, 1783, Euler died of a brain
hemorrhage. When Euler died, the mathematician
and philosopher Marquis de Condorcet commented,
"...et il cessa de calculer et de vivre" (and he
ceased to live and calculate).
7
Eulers Contributions to Mathematics
Eulers works can be seen all over the various
fields of mathematics. Many of the notations
that we use everyday is due to Euler. Here is a
list of some of the notation Euler initiated
f(x) for a function (1734) e for the base of
natural logs (1727) i for the square root of -1
(1777) ? for pi ? for summation (1755) Other
works Eulers Constant Eulers Formula eix
cosx isinx Eulers Formula (for geometry) In
a simply connected polyhedron, V F E 2.
8
Euler made a vast amount of contributions to
mathematics. He is the most prolific
mathematician of all time. His collection of
works fills 75 volumes. It was Euler who
dominated eighteenth century mathematics and
deduced many consequences of the newly invented
calculus.
9
Leonhard Euler April 15, 1707 September 18, 1783
10
References
http//scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Euler.ht
ml http//www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Ma
thematicians/Euler.html http//www.worldatlas.com
/webimage/countrys/europe/lgcolor/chcolor.htm
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