Mini-Workshop: The Reception of the Work of Leonhard Euler (1707-1783)

  • Ivor Grattan-Guinness

    Bengeo, Hertford, UK
  • Helmut Pulte

    Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany


Quite a number of scholars work on all aspects of Euler, especially in connection with the continuing preparation of the edition of his Opera omnia. But the historical study of the reception of his work during his lifetime and especially after his death has been rather patchy; for example, in the general volume [1] to commemorate the bicentenary of his death and in the recent Euler handbook [2] to note the tercentenary of his birth few articles dealt with aspects of reception in any depth. (This point holds of reception history in general.)

In our workshop the reception of Euler's work was usually considered up to around 1840. After that, it seems that it was ordinarily either used routinely or replaced, or quite forgotten, or was studied historically; a few exceptions are noted.

Sixteen scholars came together from eight countries to present their ideas on Euler's influence in a number of mathematical areas. The selection of topics is indicated in the table of contents; it includes several from applied mathematics, where scholarship is especially limited. We also discussed some examples of Euler's influence in various countries, but this kind of history is even less well developed than the influence by areas! In addition, we aired other neglected historical questions, such as: why was there such a small reception of the many papers and other writings that were posthumously published by the Saint Petersburg Academy between 1783 and 1862?

The sign ‘E’ in the abstracts below indicates the number of an Euler writing according to the list that was prepared in the early 1910s by the historian Gustav Eneström.

The meeting was a success and we are thinking of building up our efforts into a book on Euler's influence.

Cite this article

Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Helmut Pulte, Mini-Workshop: The Reception of the Work of Leonhard Euler (1707-1783). Oberwolfach Rep. 4 (2007), no. 3, pp. 2237–2282

DOI 10.4171/OWR/2007/38