O'Reilly logo

Euler's Gem by David S. Richeson

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

CHAPTER 7

EULERS GEM

“Obvious” is the most dangerous word in mathematics.—E. T. Bell1

On November 14, 1750, the newspaper headlines should have read “Mathematician discovers edge of polyhedron!”

On that day Euler wrote from Berlin to his friend Christian Goldbach in St. Petersburg. In a phrase seemingly devoid of interesting mathematics, Euler described “the junctures where two faces come together along their sides, which, for lack of an accepted term, I call ‘edges.’ ”2 In reality, this empty-sounding definition was the first important stone laid in the foundation that would become a grand theory.

One of Euler’s great gifts was his ability to consolidate isolated mathematical results and create a theoretical framework into which everything ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required