The narrative takes the reader from Euler’s childhood and education in Basel through his first period in St. Petersburg, 1727–41, where he gained a European reputation by solving the Basel problem and systematically developing analytical mechanics. Invited to Berlin by Frederick II, Euler published his famous Introductio in analysin infinitorum, devised continuum mechanics, and proposed a pulse theory of light. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1766, he created the analytical calculus of variations, developed the most precise lunar theory of the time that supported Newton’s dynamics, and published the best-selling Letters to a German Princess—all despite eye problems that ended in near-total blindness. In telling the remarkable story of Euler and how his achievements brought pan-European distinction to the Petersburg and Berlin academies of sciences, the book also demonstrates with new depth and detail the central role of mathematics in the Enlightenment.
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