Who is Leonhard Euler?
Leonhard Euler is the most prolific mathematician in history. He was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1707, and began his mathematics education under Johann Bernoulli at the age of 14. At 20 he arrived in Saint Petersburg to join the new Scientific Academy there. Over the next 50 years, he worked in both Saint Petersburg and Berlin, and worked alongside with or corresponded with the almost all the leading mathematicians and scientists of the 18th Century.
During his lifetime, Euler wrote over 800 papers covering every branch of mathematics known in his time, and including such applied topics as mechanics, fluid mechanics, naval science, solar and lunar motion, the tides, cartography, astronomical motion and precessions, acoustics, and optics. He wrote an enormously influential series of calculus textbooks, as well as books on over a dozen other mathematical and scientific fields.
Euler's life (1707-1783) fits neatly into the European Enlightenment, and he was the towering figure of European science during this time. The historian of science Clifford Truesdell has estimated that in a listing of all of the mathematics, physics, mechanics, astronomy, and navigation work produced during the 18th Century, a full 25% would have been written by Leonhard Euler.
What is the Euler Archive?
The Euler Archive is an online resource for Leonhard Euler's original works and modern Euler scholarship. This dynamic library and database provides access to original publications, and references to available translations and current research.
The goals of the Euler Archive are:
Provide access to all of Euler's original publications.
One of the difficulties with Euler research has been the lack of availability of original documents. The Euler Archive is making each of Euler's original publications available in PDF format.
Provide translations of Euler's works.
We maintain a list of which of Euler's publications have been translated into modern languages, and when possible, provide copies of or access to the translated material online.
Serve as a virtual center for Euler Scholarship.
For each of Euler's publications, there is a corresponding page in the Archive. Each page includes (or will include) a translation of the title, a summary of the work, a copy of the original document when it becomes available, and information on translations of or scholarly work discussing the publication.
Why was the Archive created?
Given Euler's critical place in the history of science, most people are surprised to learn how very little historical scholarship has been done on Euler. The bulk of his work remains untranslated into English. Many of his papers are all but unattainable today, and there exists no biography of Euler in English. (Indeed, there is no full-length biography of Euler in any language). 2007 will be the tercentennial of his birth, and it was this impetus that prompted the formation of the Euler Society, and the Euler Archive.
There are several theories which try to explain the lack of research into the life and work of Euler. Having done most of his work in Russia, Euler had long been a hero of communist science, and therefore not a welcome object of study in the west for many years. Perhaps more importantly, Euler wrote so prolifically that it would be folly for any one person to take on the work of reading and understanding Euler's works alone. Only now, with the formation of the Euler Society and the involvement of the greater Scientific Community, can this important work go forward.
Who created the Archive?
The Euler Archive was conceived by and is under the direction of Dominic Klyve and Lee Stemkoski of Dartmouth College, and is presented as a part of the Mission of the Euler Society. Briefly, the Euler Society encourages scholarly contributions examining the life, research, and influence of Euler, and promotes translations into English of selections from his writings, including correspondence and notebooks, leading up to 2007, the tercentenary of his birth. The Euler Archive seeks to provide a framework for realizing these goals.
How is the Archive organized?
The Euler Archive seeks to make Euler's works and writings available in a variety of ways, to better let researchers access and understand his work. The core part of the Archive is a collection of 866 web pages, one each for the 866 works of Euler's listed in the original comprehensive catalogue, produced by Gustav Eneström. When the Archive is completed, each page will give the title of the original work, along with an English translation and a brief summary. Then both the original publication information, and the appropriate volume and page of the Opera Omnia are given. Information about Euler's related papers which directly pertain to the current one are listed. Finally, there are links or references to any writings or scholarship about the work and translations of the work into any modern language, if available.
The Archive is organized by and may be searched via the following categories:
Euler made many contributions to mathematics, mechanics, physics, astronomy, and other scientific fields. Choosing the "subject" link on the sidebar displays these categories and subcategories. Clicking a link on this page will bring you to a list of all of Euler's works written in that area. Note that this sorting corresponds very closely to that of the Opera Omnia.
Each of Euler's works has three dates associated to it: the year it was written (oftentimes Eneström's best guess), the year it was presented or read to a scientific academy, and the year it was published. Choosing the "dates" link on the sidebar allows you view a list of all of Euler's works ordered chronologically by one of the associated dates.
Euler was so prolific that no single journal could publish his many works. Choosing the "publication" link on the sidebar displays all the journals in which Euler published; clicking a link on this page will bring you to a page containing information about a particular journal and a listing of articles published in the journal. Also available on this page is information about the scientific academies which published the journals, as well as listings of books and other items written by Euler.
Choosing the "keyword" link on the sidebar allows to to perform a simple, single-word search of the Euler Archive.
Most useful for scholars familiar with Euler's work, choosing the "Eneström Index" link on the sidebar will list Euler's works sorted by the catalog number originally given by Eneström. Here you can also find a translated version of Eneström's original index of Euler's works.