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Have I Got a Tercentennial For You!

In about one year, on April 15th, 2007, the birthday of Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), the great Swiss mathematician and scientist, will recur for the 300th time. I am a devoted fan of the great Euler and suggest that this tercentennial presents a good occasion for mathematics teachers and students to reflect on Euler's life, his prolific mathematical works, and his impact on mathematics on our current mathematics.

Now the big decision..... Do you want to celebrate it on an international basis? If yes, then you want to check out the international web site, which describes the celebration to occur at St. Martin's Church in Basel (Switzerland), Euler's home town. This celebration will include speeches, performances of special commissioned music, and the raising of many aperitif toasts.

This web site also describes other events to partake in:

  • An Interdisciplinary Lecture Course on Leonhard Euler's life and works will be held at the Basel University, delivered by Professor Hans Christoph Im Hof
  • An International Symposium on "Euler at Basel 2007"
  • An Euler Exhibition in the Basel University Library, showing original mansuscripts from Euler's mathematical genius
  • Performance of a commissioned two-voice/chamber composition, written by the renowned Polish-Swiss composer Bettina Skrzypczak, based on Euler's Theory of Lunar Movements (1772) and and his Essay on a New Theory of Music (1739)
  • A weekly Problem-Solving Competition for students
  • A Euler comic Ein Mann, mit dem man rechnen muss, possibly to be reissued in English
Or, do you want to celebrate this great occassion state-side? If yes, then you want to check out U.S. web site, which describes the celebration to occur at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. The mission of this celebration is to "reinvigorate the teaching, learning, and wider understanding of mathematics, and for efforts to plumb deeper interconnections among mathematics, mechanics, astronomy, and technology." This web site describes the program for the conference and the registration process.

What't that you say? You have never heard of Leonhard Euler, perhaps the greatest mathematician ever (by my criteria)! To read more about him and his genius, consider the following web sites (you will not be tested on this):

If you have gotten through all of this, you may have discivered why most of Euler's portraits show him facing to the left....and perhaps uderstand why, in the early 1800s, Pierre-Simon Laplace supposedly said "Lisez Euler, lisez Euler, c'est notre maitre a tous." (Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all).