
Leonhard Euler (15 April, 1707 18 September, 1783) was a Swiss mathematician and physicist. Born in Basel Switzerland, later moved to neighboring town, Riehen, Euler attended a rather poor school that taught no mathematics. His father having studied theology at the University of Basil managed to teach him some, which ignited an interest in Euler for the subject and at just 14, he began attending the University of Basil studying philosophy and theology. He completed these studies in 1726. Leonhard Euler: The first St Petersburg years by R. Calinger summarizes this time period flawlessly. “... after 1730 he carried out state projects dealing with cartography, science education, magnetism, fire engines, machines, and ship building. ... The core of his research program was now set in place: number theory; infinitary analysis including its emerging branches, differential equations and the calculus of variations; and rational mechanics. He viewed these three fields as intimately interconnected. Studies of number theory were vital to the foundations of calculus, and special functions and differential equations were essential to rational mechanics, which supplied concrete problems.” However, the publication of his book Mechanica in 1736 was the beginning of Euler’s major mathematical discoveries.
Making a plethora of contributions to calculus, topology, and many other areas of mathematics has earned him vast recognition throughout our society even today. For example Euler’s Identity: eip+1=0. According to Isaac M. McPhee, this equation is “…considered to be one of the most beautifully elegant equations ever derived from the fundamental constants.”
Euler’s number e is also a very important irrational, fundamental constant in mathematics. This contribution has aided in understanding the continuous growth of compound interest.
In the field of topology, Euler was able to solve a
Bibliography: Calinger, R. (1996). Leonhard Euler: The First St. Petersburg Years. Academic Press. McPhee, I. M. (2008, June 1). http://suite101.com/article/eulersmathematicalcontributionsa55708. Retrieved from http://suite101.com. Robertson, J. J. (1998, September). http://wwwhistory.mcs.stand.ac.uk/Biographies/Euler.html. Retrieved from http://wwwhistory.mcs.stand.ac.uk. University, D. (1998, August). http://mathforum.org/isaac/problems/bridges1.html. Retrieved from http://mathforum.org.