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Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics Chapter Summary & Analysis - The Extraordinary Sums of Leonhard Euler Summary

William Dunham (mathematician)
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The Extraordinary Sums of Leonhard Euler Summary and Analysis

Leonhard Euler shows signs of genius at an early age in Switerland, where he is born in 1707. He begins publishing papers as a teen and is appointed by the Russian Czar to the Academy in St. Petersburg at the age of 20. He possesses a remarkable memory and is able to do complicated mathematical operations in his head. Over the course of his life, he produces an incredible amount of work despite his increasing blindness. He dies suddenly in 1783, working on mathematics up until his death.

Euler would certainly have encountered the series 1 + 1/4 + 1/9 + 1/16 ... + 1/k² ... from his teacher Johann Bernoulli, Dunham writes, and he sets out to find its sum. He begins by simply adding up the first several terms hoping to find a familiar number. This method does not produce a recognizable result. Using a method...

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This section contains 281 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics Study Guide
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Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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