Leonhard
Euler

Leonhard Euler
Leonhard Euler, one of the most famous mathematicians of all time,
was born in Basel, Switzerland, on April 15, 1707. His father was
a Lutheran minister and also an amateur mathematician who passed
along his enthusiasm for mathematics to his son even though he planned
for his son to become a clergyman. He entered the University of
Basel when 13, where the Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli (father
of Daniel Bernoulli) tutored him and obtained his master's degree
at the young age of 16. Although he also studied theology and Hebrew,
his impressive talent in mathematics convinced his father to allow
him to enter that field.
In 1727, Catherine I of Russia invited Euler to join the faculty
of the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. He became chairman
of mathematics there in 1733, replacing Daniel Bernoulli. In 1735,
he lost sight in one eye while working around the clock for three
days to solve a mathematics problem that took other mathematicians
months to solve. While in Russia, he prepared some 90 papers for
publication and wrote the twovolume book Mechanica. He collaborated
with Daniel Bernoulli in the field of fluid mechanics and derived
the equation that related velocity and pressure, which became known
as Bernoulli's equation. He also conceived of pressure as something
that could change from point to point throughout a fluid.
In 1741, at the urging of Frederick the Great, Euler moved to Berlin
and became professor of mathematics at the Berlin Academy of Sciences,
which he turned into a major academy. Over the next 25 years, Euler
prepared at least 380 papers for publication. After his relationship
with Frederick deteriorated, he accepted the invitation from Catherine
the Great to return to St. Petersburg in 1766 where he became director
of the Academy of Sciences. Soon after his return, he became almost
totally blind. Nevertheless, he excelled at solving complex calculations
in his head. While at St. Petersburg, he worked on developing a
better theory of lunar motion that involved the interactions of
the sun, moon, and Earth.
Euler contributed to the subjects of geometry, calculus, trigonometry,
and number theory. He standardized modern mathematical notation
using Greek symbols that continue to be used today. He also contributed
to the fields of astronomy, mechanics, optics, and acoustics, and
made a major contribution to theoretical aerodynamics. He derived
the continuity equation and the equations for the motion of an inviscid,
incompressible fluid.
Euler suffered a stroke a died on September 18, 1783 in St. Petersburg.
