It’s true. Leonhard Euler, author of over sixty volumes of ground-breaking mathematical work, the man called “analysis incarnate”, was indeed part of the historical Frederick universe. After Frederick’s father gutted Prussian academic life (he once sent his Tobacco Club fool to a prestigious university to debate with the professors there a topic along the lines of, “You’re all ponces and scoffworks gifted only at wasting my money. Discuss.”), Frederick went to great pains to put his Berlin Academy on sound footing.

His people told him that Euler was The Mathematician To Get, so he made the offer, and Euler came to Berlin. However, he and Frederick never really got along, as Euler was prone to long-winded pronouncements on religious topics which annoyed and bored Frederick to no end. Lagrange, the other greatest mathematician of his day, who was also lured to the Berlin Academy, was more Frederick’s style for, whenever presented with a religious or political question, he just said, “I don’t know” and left it at that.

So, Euler eventually left to take up residence in Catherine the Great’s court, continuing his monumental work even as he went entirely blind.

Milton. Bach. Euler. Daredevil. Blind people totally rock.

– DvL

It is good, every now and again, to take a break from the usual Frederick babble parade and watch some competent characters take care of business.

http://www.ftg-comic.com/2007/03/08/index.php

Frederick and Newton are surrounded by Dali’s gators. Neither fluting nor Euclidean Geometry can save them.

But, where axioms fail, poetry may yet triumph.

Action! Larffs! Stanzas! Two new characters! Life gets no better than this.

Rigorous Proofwork meant something entirely different to the eighteenth century than it means to us in the post-Hilbert world. When physics and mathematics were more closely married, you could get away with a lot of iffy, and often fundamentlaly incorrect, mathematical reasoning if it “worked” to explain some physical phenomenon. Just look at Fourier.

No, seriously, look at him.

That notwithstanding, “For Rigorous Proofwork” is an awesome battle cry for a mathematician of any century, I figured, so there it is.

– DvL