When Frederick the Great was crowned King of Prussia in 1740 he immediately revived the Berlin Academy of Sciences and invited scholars from throughout Europe to Berlin. The most luminous of these was Leonhard Euler, who arrived at the academy in 1741. Euler was an outstanding genius, brilliant in both mathematics and physics. Yet, a myth persists that he failed spectacularly to solve a problem posed by Frederick. Euler is reputed to have bungled his mathematical analysis. In truth, there was much bungling, but the responsibility lay elsewhere. [TM122 or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

## Posts Tagged 'Euler'

### Euler and the Fountains of Sanssouci

Published September 7, 2017 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Applied Maths, Euler, Fluid Dynamics

### Brun’s Constant and the Pentium Bug

Published March 9, 2017 Occasional 1 CommentTags: Arithmetic, Euler, Number Theory

Euclid showed by a deliciously simple argument that the number of primes is infinite. In a completely different manner, Euler confirmed the same result. Euler’s conclusion followed from his demonstration that the sum of the reciprocals of the primes diverges:

Obviously, this could not happen if there were only finitely many primes.

### The Bridges of Paris

Published August 4, 2015 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Algorithms, Euler, Topology

Leonhard Euler considered a problem known as *The Seven Bridges of Königsberg.* It involves a walk around the city now known as Kaliningrad, in the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Since Kaliningrad is out of the way for most of us, let’s have a look closer to home, at the bridges of Paris. [TM073: search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com ]

### Clothoids Drive Us Round the Bend

Published April 17, 2014 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Euler, Geometry, Mechanics, modelling

The article in this week’s *That’s Maths* column in the* Irish Times* ( TM043 ) is about the mathematical curves called clothoids, used in the design of motorways.

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### Experiment and Proof

Published December 26, 2013 Occasional Leave a CommentTags: Arithmetic, Euler, Number Theory

Many mathematicians spend their time proving results. The (very old) joke is that they are machines for turning coffee into theorems. A *theorem* is a statement that has been shown, by a sequence of irrefutable steps, to follow logically from a set of fundamental assumptions known as axioms.

These axioms themselves may be self-evident, or may simply be assumed to be true. Given this, the statement contained in a theorem is known with certainty to be true.

This week, *That’s Maths* in *The Irish Times* ( TM032 ) is about Euler’s Polyhedron Formula and its consequences.

**Euler’s Polyhedron Formula**

The highlight of the thirteenth and final book of Euclid’s *Elements* was the proof that there are just five “Platonic solids”. Recall that a regular polygon is a plane figure with all sides and angles equal, for example a square. By joining identical polygons together, we can form solid bodies called regular polyhedra. Continue reading ‘Euler’s Gem’