Euler and e
Leonhard Euler is a towering figure of Mathematics and Physics in the 18th century, and one of the greatest mathematicians of all times. Born in 15 April 1707 in Basel (Schweiz, Switzerland) Euler’s legacy includes “e” the Euler number, with pi one of the fundamental constants of mathematics, and volumes on infinitesimal calculus, geometry, algebra and number theory. Euler lived in Saint-Petersburg, where he died on 18 September 1783, and in Berlin. Students of mathematics the world over owe him the Euler’s Identity:
described as “the most beautiful mathematical formula ever”.
“True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life,
through devotion, to something beyond himself.” ~ Henry Miller
(Quoted by Una Tentazione)
In his sleep Melissa was talking to him about higher mathematics, about the marvels she was learning with her new teacher.
Her new interest in physics amazed him, his recollection of her was of a rather simpler type of girl: how she had changed, his school sweetheart…
But he was trying to follow, she was so keen for him to understand, she was talking with passion, of their future, of the new sense of her own existence, of her search for him.
She said she would never give him up, she was learning to achieve something: to reach him in his world, the world of the living.
In his dream, her devotion was palpable, as real as her presence, and he did not want to let her go.
The story of Melissa and Julian is told here.
He is one of the great mathematicians of the 19th century, perhaps of all times. A founding father of modern Group Theory – a branch of algebra with immense applications in all sciences, theoretical and applied -he’s the inventor of Galois Theory, the body of theorems that bears his name, the theoretical basis for the branch of pure mathematics called field extensions. He was born on 25 October 1811 in Bourg-La-Reine, and died in a duel on 31 May 1832.
The sum of his written work fits in 60 handwritten pages, arguably one of the great works of the human mind. An undomitable rebel, and determined republican in the age of the Restoration, he failed his examination for the entry to Ecole Polytechique, and was famously expelled from the Ecole Normale, then the two highest churches of French scientific education. His death was probably caused by his friendship with a lady, poetically named Stéphanie-Félicie Poterin du Motel, whose injury he sought to repair, all twenty year-old he was, against an experienced duellist who wounded him mortally with one shot.
On the eve of the duel he wrote to his friend Auguste Chevalier, a long letter which remains his mathematical testament.
On the day, he told his brother Alfred:
“Ne pleures pas, Alfred ! J’ai besoin de tout mon courage pour mourir à vingt ans ! ”