lecture15 - HISTORYOFMATHEMATICSLECTURE15MONDAY1STNOVEMBER...

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HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS – LECTURE 15 – MONDAY 1 ST NOVEMBER Leonhard Euler When considering the biography of Leonhard Euler (1707 1783), it is difficult to comprehend that one person could have accomplished so much. Euler wrote over 800 papers and books (averaging one a week in 1775), and it took almost fifty years after his death to finish publishing everything. His complete output would fill 90 volumes, even though he was completely blind for the last 12 years of his life. Euler contributed to all known areas of mathematics at the time, winning the biennial prize of the Académie des Sciences twelve times, using new notation for functions, summations, imaginary numbers, and the exponential constant that is still in use today. He was fluent in several languages, and possessed a memory so prodigious that he could recite all twelve books of Virgil’s Aeneid in Latin (the modern audio book being over five hours long), and the first six exponents of the numbers from 1 to 100. He nonetheless found time to father 13 children (though only 5 survived childhood) and is said to have had many of his great ideas while playing games with them. His became famous during his lifetime throughout Europe, and has been held in the highest esteem by mathematicians ever since, with Laplace giving the advice “Read Euler. He is the master of us all.” Euler was born in Basel, Switzerland, on the 15 th of April, 1707. His parents were keen to see him enter the church given that his father and maternal grandfather were both pastors. However his parents were
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lecture15 - HISTORYOFMATHEMATICSLECTURE15MONDAY1STNOVEMBER...

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