Leonhard Euler, one of the greatest and most prolific mathematicians that the world has produced, was born at Basel, Switzerland, on the 15th day of April, 1707, and died at St. Petersburg, Russia, November the 18th, 1783. Leonhard Euler received his preliminary instruction in mathematics from his father who had considerable attainments as a mathematician, and who was a Calvinistic pastor of the village of Riechen, which is not far from Basel. He was then sent to the University of Basel where he studied mathematics under the direction of John Bernoulli, with whose two sons, Daniel and Nicholas, he formed a life long friendship. Geometry soon became his favourite study. His genius for analytical science soon gained for him a high place in the esteem of his instructor, John Bernoulli, who was at the time one of the first mathematicians of Europe. Having taken his degree as Master of Arts in 1723, Leonhard Euler afterwards applied himself; at his father’s desire, to the study of theology
For since the fabric of the universe is most perfect and the work of a most wise Creator, nothing at all takes place in the universe in which some rule of maximum or minimum does not appear. Madam, I have come from a country where people are hanged if they talk. Mathematicians have tried in vain to this day to discover some order in the sequence of prime numbers, and we have reason to believe that it is a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate. To those who ask what the infinitely small quantity in mathematics is, we answer that it is actually zero. Hence there are not so many mysteries hidden in this concept as they are usually believed to be. Now I will have less distraction.