Euler made large bounds in modern analytic geometry and trigonometry. He
made decisive and formative contributions to geometry, calculus and
Born: 15 April 1707 in Basel, Switzerland
Died: 18 Sept 1783 in St Petersburg, Russia
Euler's father wanted his son to follow him into the church and sent him
to the University of Basel to prepare for the ministry. However geometry
soon became his favourite subject. Euler obtained his father's consent
to change to mathematics after Johann Bernoulli had used his persuasion.
Johann Bernoulli became his teacher.
He joined the St. Petersburg Academy of Science in 1727, two years after
it was founded by Catherine I the wife of Peter the Great. Euler served
as a medical lieutenant in the Russian navy from 1727 to 1730. In St
Petersburg he lived with Daniel Bernoulli. He became professor of
physics at the academy in 1730 and professor of mathematics in 1733. He
married and left Johann Bernoulli's house in 1733. He had 13 children
altogether of which 5 survived their infancy. He claimed that he made
some of his greatest discoveries while holding a baby on his arm with
other children playing round his feet.
The publication of many articles and his book Mechanica (1736-37), which
extensively presented Newtonian dynamics in the form of mathematical
analysis for the first time, started Euler on the way to major
In 1741, at the invitation of Frederick the Great, Euler joined the
Berlin Academy of Science, where he remained for 25 years. Even while in
Berlin he received part of his salary from Russia and never got on well
with Frederick. During his time in Berlin, he wrote over 200 articles,
three books on mathematical analysis, and a popular scientific
publication Letters to a Princess of Germany (3 vols., 1768-72).
In 1766 Euler returned to Russia. He had been arguing with Frederick the
Great over academic freedom and Frederick was greatly angered at his
departure. Euler lost the sight of his right eye at the age of 31 and
soon after his return to St Petersburg he became almost entirely blind