Leonhard Euler, Mathematics Pioneer, Honored with Google Doodle

    April 15, 2013
    Josh Wolford

Today, Google is honoring Leonhard Euler, the Swiss mathematician known for his prolific works in many mathematical fields, including calculus and many areas of physics.

Euler is known for introducing most modern mathematical terminology and notation.

Euler was born on April 15th, 1707 in Basel, Switzerland to a pastor and a pastor’s daughter. In his early life, Euler studied under famed mathematician Johann Bernoulli and entered the University of Basel at the age of 13. He received his Master of Philosophy just three years later after a dissertation on Descartes and Newton.

He spent most of his adult life in St. Petersburg, Russia and in Berlin, Prussia. In St. Petersburg, Euler served a position in the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences’ mathematics department. He stayed in St. Petersburg from 1727 to 1741, when he left for Berlin to take up a post offered by Frederick the Great of Prussia. There is where Euler published his most important work: The Introductio in analysin infinitorum (1748), which was about mathematical functions, and the Institutiones calculi differentialis (1755) on differential calculus.

Euler is considered the most important mathematician of his era and one of the most important mathematicians of all time. He worked in nearly every field of mathematics, including algebra, geometry, calculus,and number theory. He also worked in some areas of physics.

Euler is the only man to have two mathematical numbers named after him. “Euler’s Number” in calculus (e), and the Euler-Mascheroni Constant (γ).

Euler was also known for his work in fluid dynamics, mechanics, and astronomy, one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time, Euler’s collected works fill dozens of volumes.