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Euler Tercentenary Year - MAA Activities

Victor J. Katz

The MAA has much planned in connection with Euler's tercentenary.  There are several books being published, several special lectures at the MAA and at the Swiss embassy, and numerous other special events. 

  • The shortcourse, "Leonhard Euler: Looking Back after 300 Years," was offered on January 3-4 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings inNew Orleans.
  • In celebration of Leonhard Euler's 300th birthday, the Mathematical Association of America will be releasing six new books dedicated to one of history's greatest mathematicians.

    Three are available now:
"The Genius of Euler: Reflections on his Life and Work," edited by William Dunham
This book celebrates the 300th birthday of Leonhard Euler (1707–1783),one of the brightest stars in the mathematical firmament. The book stands as a testimonial to a mathematician of unsurpassed insight, industry, and ingenuity––one who has been rightly called “the master of us all.” The collected articles,aimed at a mathematically literate audience, address aspects of Euler’s life andwork, from the biographical to the historical to the mathematical. The oldest of these was written in 1872, and the most recent dates to 2006.

"The Early Mathematics of Leonhard Euler," by Edward Sandifer
The Early Mathematics of Leonhard Euler gives an article-by-article description of Leonhard Euler’s early mathematical works, the 50 or so mathematical articles he wrote before he left St. Petersburg in 1741 to join the Academy of Frederick the Great in Berlin.  These early pieces contain some of Euler’s greatest work, the Königsberg bridge problem, his solution to the Basel problem, and his first proof of the Euler-Fermat theorem.  It also presents important results that we seldom realize are due to Euler; that mixed partial derivatives are (usually) equal, our f(x) notation, and the integrating factor in differential equations. 

"Euler: The Master of Us All," by William Dunham
Written for the mathematically literate reader, this book provides a glimpse of Euler in action. Following an introductory biographical sketch are chapters describing his contributions to eight different topics—number theory, logarithms, infinite series, analytic number theory, complex variables, algebra, geometry, and combinatorics. At the end of the book is a brief outline of Euler’s collected works, the monumental Opera Omnia, whose publication has consumed virtually all of the twentieth century.

Two more are in production:
  • "How Euler Did It," by C. Edward Sandifer
  • "The Evolution of Euler’s Ideas and Modern Science," edited by N. N.  Boglyubov, G. K. Mikhauilov.  & A. P. Yushkevich (Translated from the Russian)
The sixth book is under development. Information will be posted here when available.
  • As part of the 2007 PREP summer workshop series, Bill Dunham will organize a workshop, "The Genius of Euler," based partly on his book. Information about the workshop series is available at On March 6, Prof. Dunham will be at the MAA Carriage House for a discussion and book signing.

    In anticipation of Swiss mathematician and scientist Leonhard Euler’s 300th birthday in April, Bill Dunham, Editor of "The Genius of Euler: Reflections on his Life and Work" will lead a program titled “The Genius of Euler” based partly on his book.

    Monday, March 5, 6:30 pm, at the Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Vin d’honneur to follow. Reservations required at 202 745-7928/29 or

    Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 pm, at the MAA Carriage House, on Church St immediately behind MAA Headquarters at 1529 Eighteenth St NW, Washington, DC. Reception to follow. Click here to RSVP for this event.

    Leonhard Euler (1707 - 1783) stands as a towering figure from the long history of mathematics. Born and educated in Basel, Switzerland, Euler went on to positions at the St. Petersburg Academy in Russia and the Berlin Academy in Germany, where he built a mathematical legacy remarkable for its quantity, its variety, and its enduring significance. While contributing to all existing branches of the subject (and inventing a few others along the way), he published over 25,000 pages of pure and applied mathematics — a record unlikely to be matched.

    Our program begins with a survey of Euler's life and a (non-technical) description of some of his achievements. Then there will be time for questions, comments, and a book signing — all in celebration of the tercentenary of this great mathematician.

    Dr. William Dunham, Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, is the author of four books with a mathematical/historical flavor: Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics (Wiley, 1990), The Mathematical Universe (Wiley, 1994), Euler: The Master of Us All (MAA, 1999), and The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue (Princeton, 2005). Most recently, he has edited a book in honor of Euler’s 300th birthday titled The Genius of Euler: Reflections on His Life and Work (MAA, 2007).

  • The Euler Archive: Illuminating the Life and Times of Leonhard Euler
    A special program sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland and the Mathematical Association of America

    April 16, 2007, 6:30 PM - Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

    Reservations required at 202 745-7928/29 or

    Leonhard Euler is one of the greatest and most prolific scholars in history. Born in Basel, Switzerland in 1707, he became a towering figure in the scientific world of the European Enlightenment. This year, we celebrate the 300th anniversary of Euler's birth and his many contributions to mathematics and the sciences. During his lifetime, Euler wrote hundreds of works in mathematics, not only contributing to every branch known at that time, but also developing entirely new fields of research. In the sciences, Euler investigated a wide variety of topics, including mechanics, naval science, cartography, astronomy, acoustics, optics, and more.

    The Euler Archive (, an online resource created to facilitate the 21st century study of Leonhard Euler and his work, provides access to nearly all of Euler's original works, as well as references to available translations and modern Euler scholarship. The broad range of materials in this dynamic library also provides insight into the personal life of Leonhard Euler by including biographical resources, selected correspondence, and more. Scholars around the world have contributed their knowledge and expertise to the Euler Archive, thus making it a virtual center for Euler scholarship.

    In this talk, the Euler Archive will be used to survey some of the highlights of the life and times of Leonhard Euler: his family and colleagues, his involvement with scientific academies, his publications and correspondence, and the influence of his work in the sciences today.
  • The Euler Society will meet at the MAA summer meeting, MathFest, August 3-5, in San Jose, CA

To find out more, click on /euler/.

Victor J. Katz, "Euler Tercentenary Year - MAA Activities," Convergence (July 2007)