Famous Scientists

Leonhard Euler

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Leonhard Euler

Leonhard Euler was an eminent Swiss mathematician and physicist, who is widely credited to be one of the founders of pure mathematics. He made significant contributions to modern analytic geometry and trigonometry. Euler’s critical and formative work revolutionized the fields of calculus, geometry and number theory.

Early Life and Education:

Leonhard Euler’s father wished to see his son as a clergyman. He attended the University of Basel, where he soon developed an interest in geometry. Therefore, Euler, with support from his future teacher, Johann Bernoulli, persuaded his father to persue mathematics.

Contributions and Achievements:

Leonhard Euler became a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Science in 1727. He also worked for Russian Navy from 1727 to 1730 as a medical lieutenant. At the academy, Euler served as professor of physics in 1730, and three years later, became a professor of mathematics in 1733.

Euler published several articles during this time, and his book “Mechanica” (1736-37), which was the first work to portray Newtonian dynamics in the form of mathematical analysis, earned him worldwide fame as a prominent mathematician. He joined the Berlin Academy of Science in 1741 on the invitation of Frederick the Great. However, the two never got on well with each other. Nevertheless, Euler wrote more than 200 articles, three books regarding mathematical analysis, and a famous scientific publication “Letters to a Princess of Germany” during his stay at Berlin.

Euler made groundbreaking contributions to analytic geometry, trigonometry, calculus and number theory. He was the first person to integrate Leibniz’s differential calculus and Newton’s method of fluxions into mathematical analysis, and to state the prime number theorem and the law of biquadratic reciprocity when it came to number theory. He published about 886 books and papers and still remains the most prolific writer of mathematics in history.

Later Life and Death:

Leonhard Euler died of a brain hemorrhage in 1783. He was 76 years old. Euler was buried next to his first wife, Katharina, at the Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery.

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