Euler, Leonard

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Euler, Leonard

Euler, Leonard, great Swiss mathematician, scientist, and philosopher; b. Basel, April 15, 1707; d. St. Petersburg, Sept. 18, 1783. He studied with Johann Bernoulli at the Univ. of Basel. In 1727 he went to Russia, where he became a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences; in 1733 he succeeded Daniel Bernoulli in the chair of mathematics there. In 1741 he was called to Berlin by Friedrich the Great, where he was a member of the Academy until being invited to St. Petersburg by Catherine the Great in 1766. Although he became totally blind shortly thereafter, he continued to pursue his work until his death. In addition to his enormous output of writings on non-musical subjects, he wrote several valuable works on music theory and acoustics, the most important being Tentamen novae theoriae musicae, ex certissimis harmoniae principils dilucidae expositae (St. Petersburg, 1739). He was the first to employ logarithms to explain differences in pitch. An Opera omnia began publication in 1911.


C. Smith, L. E.’s Tentamen noviae theoriae musicae (diss., Ind. Univ., 1960); H. Busch, L. E.s Beitrag zur Musiktheorie (diss., Univ. of Cologne, 1970).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire