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Mathematical Treasure: Euler's Letters to a German Princess

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Among the numerous works for which he is famous, Leonhard Euler’s Letters to a German Princess is rather unique in the history of science. During the years 1760-1762, Euler corresponded with the German noble woman, Friederike Charlotte of Brandenburg-Schwedt, soon to become a Princess. The letters provided a tutorial in matters of philosophy and mathematics. During the years 1769-1773, the letters were published in three volumes in French. In the prevailing “Age of Enlightenment,” these books became very popular and they went through several editions and were translated into many languages. This is the title page for Volume I of a French edition published in Paris in 1787:

The “Advertisement” at the front of the book serves as an introduction:

The images above are presented courtesy of ETH-Bibliothek Zürich and are available via e-rara.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Euler's Letters to a German Princess," Convergence (July 2018)