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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Euler, Leonhard"

Euler, Leonhard [Astro*Index]


(1707-1783) Swiss mathematician. Born at Basel; died at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Without doubt, he was the most prolific mathematician of all time; he published 800 papers, and kept the printing presses running for 35 years after his death. He started the replacement of geometric methods of proof used by Galileo and Newton with the new algebraic ones (Lagrange carried this still further). He lost the sight of his right eye in connection with observations of the Sun. And, in 1766, he lost his sight in the other eye. Still, his astounding memory made it possible for him to perform complicated work. He made contributions in Lunar Theory, which deals with the analysis of the exact motion of the Moon. This topic is so complex that it has dominated the efforts of mathematicians and astronomers from Kepler to the present. He introduced the symbols e, i, and f() for the base of the natural logarithms, the square root of minus one, and functional notation, respectively. He believed that light was a wave form, and that color depended on waveform.

See also: ♦ Newton, Sir Isaac ♦ Lagrange, Joseph Louis Comte De


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