Leonhard Euler (1707-1783)

Euler was a prolific mathematician and was said to have “wrote mathematics as effortlessly as most men breathe.” 


He was born in Basel, Switzerland and was the son of a Protestant minister who had himself studied Mathematics.

Euler’s genius developed early. He attended the university of Basel, where he obtained a BA and master’s degree in Philosophy. Although he studied theology, the lure of Mathematics was too great, and he did mathematical research.

 

His collected works formed many volumes, but it is believed that much of his work has been lost. What is astonishing is that Euler was blind for the last 17 years of his life, which was one of his most productive periods!

Euler’s flawless memory was phenomenal and his ability to solve problems in his head was beyond belief. He worked out major problems on lunar motion that baffled Isaac Newton. He was the first mathematician to use Calculus to solve problems in Physics.

He made major contributions to almost every branch of mathematics as well as the theory of optics, planetary motion, electricity, magnetism, and general mechanics. It was Euler who suggested mathematicians use the small Greek letter π for the circular constant, an irrational number for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter that was first discovered by the classical Greeks. 


‘Logic is the foundation of the certainty of all the knowledge we acquire.’ ~Leonhard Euler

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