Euler: a mathematician without equal and an overall nice guy

The vast body of mathematics owes more to Euler than to any other single person

Leonhard Euler revolutionised mathematics, greatly extending its boundaries. He was inexhaustible: no other mathematician has been so prolific

Leonhard Euler revolutionised mathematics, greatly extending its boundaries. He was inexhaustible: no other mathematician has been so prolific

Mathematicians are an odd bunch. Isaac Newton was decidedly unpleasant, secretive and resentful while Carl Friedrich Gauss, according to several biographies, was cold and austere, more likely to criticise than to praise. It is frequently claimed that a disproportionate number of mathematicians exhibit signs of autism and have significant difficulties with social interaction and everyday communication.

It is true that some of the greatest fit this stereotype, but the incomparable Leonhard Euler is a refreshing counter-example. He was described by his contemporaries as a generous man, kind and loving to his 13 children and maintaining his good-natured disposition even after he became completely blind. He is comforting proof that a neurotic personality is not essential for mathematical prowess.

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