[ExI] Euler day

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Apr 15 15:40:16 UTC 2013

On 15/04/2013 15:31, The Avantguardian wrote:
> Anders writes:
>> Dunham's book is great fun, because it shows just how wild Euler's
>> approach was. This was no holds barred math, long before boring epsilon-delta
>> formalists made calculus tame and safe. Infinite degree polynomials! Sums of
>> products of sums! Limits nobody would expect to converge!
> I concur. I have heard it said that mathematical discoveries are named after the second person to prove them lest almost every theorem be named after Euler. :-)

One cool thing with Euler is that he often gave several different proofs 
of the same theorem, probably because he knew his methods were not 
always correct. And his proofs were often *very* different in style - 
this robustness-increasing method (which I *strongly* favor - see 
http://www.gwern.net/The%20Existential%20Risk%20of%20Mathematical%20Error ) 
is somewhat work-intensive, and most of us have a hard time making 
uncorrelated proofs. But Euler could.

So in a sense many theorems should be called the "Euler-Euler-Euler 
theorem" since he was the first to prove it in utterly different ways.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list